Amanda Rogers - The Places You Dwell (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Amanda Rogers

The Places You Dwell (2003)

Immigrant Sun

This is a very simple and beautiful album, if you're into that kind of thing. It is merely a woman and her piano…plus her keyboards and Rhodes. She does all the keys as well as vocals, often harmonizing herself, and there is a dash of other musicans with some strings and guitars that add a little texture on occasion (the guitar is very difficult to find). The album is mostly simple ballads, and makes me think of perhaps a less hyper Ben Folds meets a less pissed Ani DiFranco, with her gentle yet powerful voice over sometimes subtle sometimes booming piano chords and bass notes. I can't tell you much about Amanda herself because her site and bio had nothing about where she is from or how old she is, but I can tell you she has opened up for many indie bands like Piebald and has teamed up with Jonah from Onelinedrawing on occasion, and live she often covers songs by the Beatles, Radiohead and Bob Dylan.

This album takes a bold first step with "And She Waited" an intimate a capella track – it is only two tracks of her vocals with exception of maybe 5 seconds with piano fading in then out. The song grabs your ear, simply because you need to listen. It is not shoved at you, it makes you come to it.

My picks for best tracks would be the above mentioned first track because of its boldness and great vocal harmonies; "Sunshine" a version of the classic tune ("sunshine / you are my sunshine / you make me happy / when skies are grey") in which she embellishes the background music with the piano, and expands and ornaments the vocal melody; and "Divide and Separate." This song grabbed me immediately because it has the most bounce and a great bass line. The lyrics of "So raise these petty stakes / With all the leaves you shake / From this family tree you branch away from me / divide and separate" fit into the general theme of relationship problems and self-doubt. Happy! The lyrics are decent though, just mellow.

This CD will either really grab you or put to sleep. I found it to be a good album overall, and definitly a change from what I usually get to review. There were no glaring bad tracks, but I could have used a little beat now and then or at least more uptempo tracks. A solid effort though, and look for more growth from this songwriter down the road.