Amanda Jo Williams

The Echo Presents

Amanda Jo Williams

Crooked Cowboy & The Freshwater Indians, VUM

Tue, September 4, 2012

8:30 pm (event ends at 2:00 am)

Echoplex

Los Angeles, CA

This event is 21 and over

Amanda Jo Williams
Amanda Jo Williams
Amanda Jo Williams knew she was going to get out of her tiny town of Hogansville, Georgia, she just didn't quite know how-- until one day a model scout plucked the gangly, dark haired beauty out of the crowd. Quickly, Amanda Jo had landed amid the buzzing energy of New York City, a place so inspiring she realized she definitely wasn't going to sit still for a photographer's lens. On a whim, she and a friend hitchhiked up to Woodstock, NY, where Amanda met a man who would bring her two gifts-- the gift of playing music, and the gift of her twin girls. Suddenly Amanda had found herself was pregnant with Ginger and Hominy, and recording her new songs as fast as she could write them. Finding her calling set her heart afire with new dreams, and the experience, she recounts, felt entirely natural. "It made me feel good, free, and like I could go places I hadn't been," she says. "I felt like it was gift I received from something much larger, like I had something honest to grow."

While in Woodstock, Amanda formed the band Army Of Love, with whom she would go on to release four records. Being prolific comes naturally to Amanda, she finds the creation of the songs as effortless as breathing. "I just strum chords and whatever is on my mind and heart just flows out," says the thirty-year-old artist. When she talks, it's in a strong southern drawl swirled into a high pitch coo, like a little girl or a fairy nymph. And when Amanda Jo Williams sings, it can sound as soft as a mother singing her children to sleep, or as primal as the call of an Indian across a wild plain. In fact, Native American culture resonates with Amanda, and its heartbeat threads through her sonic landscape. '"I think," says Amanda, "I was an Indian in my past life." And certainly, now, when she sings in the present she embodies a native, raw, open presence, and plays music with no pretense. Her creation mode is about "always being spontaneous," she says, "it's about whatever's being channeled. It's about feeling good, being free, being open, very childlike." And, she adds, "it's always about love."

Five years ago, Amanda gave birth to her son Jack, published a book, Grace Light Warrior, and released her first record, the critically acclaimed, cult-adored, punkabilly cosmic country offering Yes I Will, Mr. Man. (Which so nice they released it twice : Stereotype, 2006, White Noise of LA, 2009). Upon review of Yes I Will, Coke Machine Glow said this; "This is unequivocally the best country album I've heard in years. I get just as much pleasure out of it as I get from Emmy Lou Harris or Gram Parsons or (gasp) Johnny Cash." Despite all her efforts, the Universe didn't seem to have the same immediate plans for Amanda's music as she did, and soon the young artist and mother found herself sweeping her dreams to the side and enrolling in Nursing School.

But while playing a residency at LA's famed Spaceland, Amanda knew she had to stay dogged after her dream a music, and make use of the gift she was given. She decided then and there, she says, "to do music and not look back or neglect it," she says. "I did what I had to do, because everyone has their own gift, when you find it you run with it cause you have to. If everyone was not afraid to use their gift for themselves and the world there would more peace," she says.

Amanda is nothing if not a mercurial artist. She can go from sticky to sweet on the turn of a dime. Point in case: this year's solo release Mary's Big Feet, (April) will lull the children to sleep with exotic, out-of-this-world dreams, but her group effort with her band, The Bear Eats Me (upcoming release), will wake the kids in the middle of the night for a boot-stomping, moon-invoking dance party on the back porch. The lofi, ghostly, Mary's Big Feet reveals the artist's softer, yearning side with songs about like "Homeheart" and "Waiting for You" which address "her muse." On the other end of the spectrum, The Bear Eats Me is chock full of catchy rockabilly band numbers, with multi-layered recordings featuring cherubic choruses and good ol' honky tonk, dusty jukebox rock.

The way she talks about her life's adventures (and she's had plenty for her 31 years) sounds like she plays in the world as if it's a giant Candyland game board. Like we all live in a mythical forest with endless possibilities, some of us just don't know it yet.

With her music career burgeoning more than ever, Amanda now spends her time back and forth between Woodstock and Los Angeles, filming creative and mysterious mini plays, or "playdates" with her kids and friends, and performing her songs whenever she can, and as much as she can. Her live shows feel a little like attending a punk country-themed channeling mixed with the suspense and crafty theatrics of your first puppet show. Don't be surprised if she's playing on fifty buck toy guitar or her backing band is rounded out by characters named Feather, 5-Track, the Crooked Cowboy, or even one of her three children, for that matter.

While the experience of Amanda Jo Williams' music is at once like nothing you've ever heard, it sometimes evokes some legendary saucy and soulful comparisons: like Hank Williams Jr, Joanna Newsome, Melanie or June Carter, Victoria Williams and Lucinda Williams as well. When you mention influences though, Amanda shrugs. "Oh, she says. "That's nice. I like all those people, it's just I'm just being me." Citizen LA summed up well what "being Amanda" is all about: "On a mission to spread fire and music, Amanda's driven and infectious songs and honest way have entranced both communities of experimental folk musicians and audiences across Los Angeles." Today, Los Angeles. Tomorrow, the world.
Crooked Cowboy & The Freshwater Indians
Crooked Cowboy & The Freshwater Indians
Crooked Cowboy & The Freshwater Indians have entranced all they come in contact with for close to a decade, tramping and pacing their way across vast musical genres, with their latest release compounding these forms in discrete menace.

In his earlier days as a musician and composer, Crooked Cowboy shared sessions and stages with the likes of Jimmy Cliff, Willie Nelson, John Lee Hooker, Beck, and Stereolab, to name a few. His subtle influences can also be traced back to unsavory L.A. nights befitting his noir-ish tone. He set up command in the mid 90′s with The Blue Hawaiians, reinterpreting the surf revival at such hotspots as the Lava Lounge, The Viper Room, and The Roxy, providing the background for L.A.’s new young chic, including none other than Quentin Tarantino, who’s film Pulp Fiction pulsates with the same dark incongruity. Toward the tail-end of the 90′s, Crooked Cowboy locked in as a hermetic touring machine, while still taking time out to record soundtracks for various films, composing for Everlast’s hit record Whitey Ford Sings The Blues, and single “Goodbye Sadie” for Tito and Tarantula.

Once united in 2006, Crooked Cowboy & The Freshwater Indians became a live orchestral tour-de-force. The ensemble ranges from 6-12 while playing live, showcasing a psychedelic whirlwind tinged with an unattainable nostalgia for a western era we can only long to re-experience.

With this newest release, Crooked Cowboy turns the storm inward, taking the formative experiences and moods of life in a dusty fast lane and forges in a fire of hard-earned grit. Annalog And Her Hopeful Diaries examines the songs in him traced with lonliness and heartbreak. As their heavy rhythmic pendulum swings, one transcends to a place a time where Ennio Mariconne fences with Phillip Marlowe in the final resting place of Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell. And there is no one better suited to guide us through this journey than The Crooked Cowboy.
VUM
VUM
I Recommend it- Henry Rollins

Totally ruling LA noir re-imagining of what the second Suicide record might have sounded like if Polly Jean Harvey fronted the band instead of Alan Vega. Hints of surf guitar bring you back to the west/best coast and give the whole happening a woozy, psychedelic glow. Featuring a former member of Lion Fever and Everlovely Lightningheart, it is extremely limited, this is hands-down the sexiest Living Tape yet! LIMITED TO 100

Only unique souls with a deep knowledge of strange music, film, and prog mastery would have the desire and ability to intently appreciate or create the psychedelic minimalism that VUM is currently crafting for our cranial delight.
The most delicious psychedelic album I've heard from a contemporary band. Vum – 'Strange Attractor'. ~Dirty Jeff

The intelligent and enigmatic two-piece, VUM (womb), specializes in a paradoxical type of music. It is clearly minimalist by nature; yet, like the stamp of only so many adept masters, i.e., Neu!, their music spews forth an impressive wave of sound. Drum and percussion beats drone monotonously throughout and beneath most of VUM's tracks, providing a stability that sustains the security of the back of your mind, while two necromancers cast layers of spells over the top of the intense progressions. Christopher Badger weaves sticky webs of keys, using organ, piano, synthesizer, and even a Fender Rhodes, while Jennifer Pearl injects piercing, shattering, splattered guitar and slide riffs. In fact, like an orc that is hardly recognizable as a tortured elf, much of Jennifer's electric guitar work is just barely perceptible for what it truly is: a seriously manipulated form of psychedelic surf guitar. The magic is fertilized by the lady's deep shamanistic vocals, both eerie and beautiful in nature – chanting poetic lyrics of foretelling and portending evocations, laced with the severe solemnity and mystery of truly submerged artists.

VUM's debut, 'Strange Attractor', irresistibly recalls to my mind some of the essence of Pink Floyd's 'More' album, which goes perfectly in hand with the fact that I also see VUM providing the soundtrack to some bizarre and brilliant foreign or indie film. Badger and Pearl possess a fluid chemistry that coalesces like the wind blowing dandelion seeds up a barren mountainside. I truly cannot wait for a second album to take root, and have meanwhile been grateful for Albino Crow Records' beautifully packaged re-release of 'Strange Attractor'.
Venue Information:
Echoplex
1822 W. Sunset Blvd
The Echoplex is located below The Echo, enter through the alley at 1154 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90026