Reviewed by Phil Thomson
Dare I say “as good as it gets”'? "The stars we put in place/The dreams we didn't waste/The sorrows we embraced/The world belonged to you and me/The oceans that we crossed/The innocence we lost/The hurting at the end/I'd go there again 'cos it was beautiful." With this deeply personal album, Amy is wearing her heart on her sleeve; a very different Amy from last year's 'Legacy'. The point is, good writing reveals the creator's journey - and from the opening track “Happy” through “Beautiful” (where she duets with husband Vince Gill) and beyond, she lets us in on the three years it has taken to construct this little masterpiece. Of course, she's older, wiser, more mellow - aren't we all - yet you can tell she is just as uncompromising in her artistry, and there is the reassuring presence of Brown Bannister and Wayne Kirkpatrick in the production credits alongside Keith Thomas and Ron Hemby. There is even a contribution on “Out In The Open” from the ubiquitous Chris Eaton; the very title speaks for the tenor of this release. What you get is riddled with the purest of musical surprises - incisive, melodious backdrops to tear-inducing truths. As Amy has co-written eight out of the 10 tracks and taken a long time over what she wants to say, you can be sure this is an honest outing. So many of the songs, such as “I Don't Know Why” are familiar from the first encounter and her voice, more assured than ever, haunts every word; not bitter-sweet, more thankful. The experience is intimate, feel good, forgiving. Listen and you'll feel as if a burden has been lifted. Outstanding.
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