Amy Millan

Honey From the Tombs (Arts & Crafts)

ACL Music Fest Reviews

Amy Millan

Honey From the Tombs (Arts & Crafts)

Amy Millan, the elfish voice behind Montreal sonic pop band Stars and a Broken Social Scene collaborator, worked three years on her debut solo album, but Honey From the Tombs doesn't drip indie rock. Millan has leapt out of her comfort zone with a bluegrass folk album, a mix of Edie Brickell and Allison Krauss. With the exception of "Skinny Boy," a beautifully nostalgic love song, Honey soars from dirt roads to moss-strewn trees. As the album progresses from country ballad (opener "Losin You") to acoustic twang ("He Brings Out the Whiskey in Me"), Millan morphs from a skinny-jeans hipster to a linen-wearing chanteuse. Double-tracked vocals and the perfect yin to Millan's yang – Jenny Whiteley's backing vox – turn "Baby I" into authentic porch music. When "Hardhearted (Ode to Thoreau)" hints at overplaying, Dan Whiteley's mandolin and Stars cohort Evan Cranley's Dobro pass the bottle and save it. The long stretches somehow become calm space under the weight of Millan's ghostly presence. It might take a hard swallow to understand the mighty genre-jump of an indie princess, but it takes determination to go through with it. It ain't perfect, but Millan just might find herself a hearty welcome down South. (Friday, Stars: 3:30pm, Heineken stage)

***

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