Amy Speace is a folk singer, timeless and classic, and a bit out of her own era. “She has one of the richest and loveliest voices in the genre and her songs are luxuriously smart,” writes Craig Havighurst (host of Nashville’s “Music City Roots). “She’s profoundly personal yet also a bit mythic.” Since her discovery in 2006 by folk-pop icon Judy Collins, Speace has been heralded as one of the leading voices of the new generation of American folk singers. Her latest release, “That Kind Of Girl”, received rave reviews by Billboard Magazine, The New York Times and NPR. Recorded live in 3 days with her longtime collaborator/producer Neilson Hubbard, with a small combo featuring Will Kimbrough (Emmylou Harris) and Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket), Girl is spare, direct and brutally honest and is her most personal collection of songs yet.
Born in Baltimore, Amy Speace studied classical acting in New York City after graduating from Amherst College and then spent a few years with The National Shakespeare Company and other Off-Off Broadway classical rep companies, doing guerrilla Shakespeare in Lower East Side parking lots, working backstage on Broadway, writing poetry in cafes and feeling increasingly like success as a theater artist was just out of reach. In that season of doubt, she bought a cheap guitar at a pawn shop in the East Village and began putting her poetry to music and in short time was appearing at local folk clubs The Sidewalk Cafe, The Bitter End and The Living Room. Judy Collins’ manager caught a set of Amy’s at the 2005 SXSW conference and brought her demo back to Collins, who had just started her own imprint, Wildflower Records and immediately signed Amy. Her Wildflower Records debut “Songs For Bright Street,” was released to rave reviews in 2006 and featured E-Street band fiddler Soozie Tyrell and a duet with The Jayhawks Gary Louris. That year she was nominated as Best New Artist by the International Folk Alliance. In 2009 she released “The Killer In Me,” recorded in North Carolina with Mitch Easter (REM, the db’s), which had NPR comparing her to a young Lucinda Williams. That record's bonus track, an acoustic version of her song "Weight of the World" was recorded later that year by Judy Collins herself, who named it “one of the best political folk songs I’ve ever heard.” WFUV, NYC's premier AAA radio station, awarded "Weight of the World" the #4 Folk Song of the Decade. Seeking new inspiration, in late 2009, Speace moved to Nashville, changing management and labels, and began collaborating with producer/songwriter Neilson Hubbard on a collection of songs that would become the cinematic “Land Like A Bird,” released in 2011 on Thirty Tigers. In 2013, she received the best reviews of her career with the epic "How To Sleep In A Stormy Boat,” a string-laden song cycle inspired by Shakespeare, winning 4 stars from Mojo Magazine and a feature on NPR’s “All Things Considered”. Rock critic Dave Marsh, long a fan, who contributed the album's liner notes, wrote "Amy Speace’s songs hang together like a short story collection, united by a common vantage point and common predicaments…it’s a gift to hear a heart so modest even when it’s wide open."
An accidental side project was born in East Nashville in 2015, when Applewood Road was formed. The trio of Speace, Amber Rubarth and Emily Barker met in 2015 at a coffeeshop in East Nashville and, after writing one song together, were signed to a deal with the London-based Gearbox Records. Their eponymous debut was recorded in 4 days around one microphone at Nashville's analog studio Welcome To 1979 and was released in the UK in February 2016 to astonishing 4 and 5 star reviews. The Sunday London Times called the album “a flawless set that has to be the most haunting release of the past year” and The Telegraph wrote “There’s a Moorish magic to the harmonies of this country-folk trio that recalls the vintage appeal of the Everlys and the Andrews.” Applewood Road appeared that summer at Glastonbury Festival, The Cambridge Folk Festival and on the Andrew Marr Show.
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