Album Review: Amy Francis – Balladacious [Independent Release]

Bodacious is a Southern/Southwestern portmanteau of bold and audacious. It’s meaning is remarkable, courageous, audacious, spirited and unmistakable.
Corpus Christi TX native Amy Francis uses this linguistic fusion and forms the title of her new release , Balladacious. Just as she reinterprets words Francis also uses this skill to give her own take on some of  country music’s best-known classics.
The album opens with Francis beautiful voice powerfully breaking the silence with a vulnerable delivery of the Hank Cochran barroom lament Don’t Touch Me. Francis brings the longing and apprehension contained in the song to a palatable level and disarms you of all cynicism. A staple of country music is it’s unabashed sentiment and Francis’ heart is emblazoned boldly on this first song.

The spirits of Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette and Brenda Lee are conjured with all their romantic weariness giving testament. Not just because Francis covers Sweet Dreams, Apartment #9 and Fool Number One respectively, but because she is a believer. She brings authenticity to these songs because she embodies them wholly not simply mimicking them like many Music City talen dipping a toe in traditionalism.
Her take on Bobbie Gentry’s Ode to Billy Joe reworks this dark song of small-town gossip and makes it swing with an acoustic guitar and strings accompaniment. Her covers of George Jone’s “Picture of Me Without You” and “I’ll Share My World With You” elevates them to the honky-tonk majesty they deserve and Vince Gill’s hit “When I Call Your Name” is covered with barrel-house piano and pedal steel accompaniment and achieves a forlornness that LeAnn Rimes’s cover never came close to.  Ronnie Milsap’s “Stranger Things Have Happened” is given an equal turn with Francis’ voice soaring at heights while singing about the depths. The hope against hope and lessons contained in these testimonials of  despair makes country music some of the greatest forms of contemporary tragedy. Francis approaches each with dignity and grace they deserve and strikingly nimble vocals that breath life into every barroom confession.

I have an ambivalent relationship with Nashville Sound era country music. When Owen Bradley, with Chet Atkins and Bob Ferguson moved hillbilly music from the hollers and honky tonks to the supper clubs, by adding strings, backing vocals and other adornment better suited for crooners of the day, they laid the path toward the enormously lucrative but culturally superficial pop-country industry we’ve inherited. Like the great performers of the Nashville Sound era Francis charms me into putting aside bias by keeping the soul enact while stripping back just enough veneer to let you hear the heart break.

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3 thoughts on “Album Review: Amy Francis – Balladacious [Independent Release]

  1. March 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Amy Francis sounds like a fascinating artist. Thanks for the post and video.

  2. March 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Beautiful sound and a beautiful voice. Been awhile since I have heard such a “True Country Sound”. You have captured the essence of Patsy Cline & Tammy Wynette and combined it to your own style. I wish you the best of luck in your career.
    Gene Fuller,
    The Texas Guitarman

  3. December 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    My name is David.
    As you know Amy I’m a country music promoter,You and I became close friends this year.
    Before my Brain Bleed I was busy writing to Recording Studios in Brady Texas .HOTR owner
    Tracy Pitcox.and the UK GB Maverick Country Music Magazine,and Country Music People,
    Editor Duncan Warwick. And mailed six of her albums she very kindly sent to my DJs UKGB.
    I’ve done so much ,I think Amy is disheartened that’s she’s not on a LABLE yet!!! I can quite
    Understand her being annoyed with the Love,Amotions ,the Feeligs this fine lady who sings strait,from the heart.
    Now where not just going to let this precious gift slip out of are hands,are we Fans,
    I ask you in the name of a Amy Francis go out and buy her album as you’ll be sorry take it from me as a Proffesional Country Music Promoter,and friends with present and Passt on
    Like Friends with Hilda Hensley Patsy Clines Mom,22,years. 36,with Mrs Jim Reeves,Faron Young,35,years, 22,with Miss Kitty Wells.Pee a Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys
    For 20 ,year ,private letters etc from all of them,
    So with Amy she is what the world is all about,You want to be involve with her just as I was in 1964 with Jim Reeves Wife etc,You won’t get another voice like Amy Francis’s I can promise you.This is going back to the Start of Traditional Country Music from the 1958s
    I’m doing my best ,.If you don’t want to loose Country Music you need to vote for A.F,
    And I shall carry on until my time is up,she’s with fighting for,she Young,Beautiful and a Professional,England Love and want to her,her again,it would be my greatest pressure to see her back and even on tour.
    So please get in touch with her for Chrismas ,don’t put it off !! You’ll be sorryyyyyyy.
    David Markham.
    Country Music
    PromoterUKGB.
    Thank you to one
    And all in reading
    My letter.Dave

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