Being an independent artist who plays bars and listening rooms means your career depends somewhat on your accessibility. That can yield beautiful, lasting connections with audiences — as well as unsolicited advice from opportunists.
Amelia White, whose independence, lyrical bite and melodic hooks have earned numerous comparisons to Lucinda Williams, slyly sizes them up in “Free Advice”: “Soften your look, toughen your act/ Don’t look down and don’t look back/ Somebody told me this here’s whatcha oughtta do/ Somebody told me, Baby, find something cheap that looks good on you/ … So many words, so much talk/ Sometimes I just wanna rock.”
The song is from “Rhythm of the Rain,” issued to enthusiastic acclaim in the UK last year; a longer version will be released in the States this summer. A smartly produced blend of Americana rockers and balladry, the album was recorded near White’s Nashville home in the four days between her mother’s funeral and her own wedding — an emotional fire pit that yielded discernible performance payoffs. She’s performing those songs on a solo tour that brings her to the Buccaneer Friday, Blue Guitar Club Wednesday and Sun Space next Thursday.
Taking her audience’s pulse, so to speak, is more vital now that she’s finally embraced the challenge of performing solo (out of financial necessity, and because it’s making her a better player). Readings differ from the UK, where she plays theaters and festivals along with listening rooms.
“The alarming thing is that pockets where people can tune into music are becoming less,” she says. “I don’t know if it’s because there’s so much noise right now in our country and people are so consumed with their phones and the internet, but that’s a really sad thing that I’m seeing. When you hit pockets that aren’t like that, it’s a real treat, or even if you’re able to pull one person away. That’s part of the reason why I’m going to the UK regularly, because they haven’t caught that disease of not being able to sit and listen to music. … I worry about the state of humanity and the state of our country if people can’t even hear or register art anymore. …
“For me the distinct thing that I bring is the ability to make people just get out of their heads and feel. Once people feel empathy about any subject, it opens the door to changing or just being in the present. In this time of such divisiveness in our nation, when there’s so much anger and hatred, it’s so important to me. Even if it’s just one person a night that happens to, I feel like that’s my purpose on this earth.”
Amelia White plays three solo sets at Buccaneer Lounge, 70 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 2; free admission. Info: (626) 355-9045. White’s a featured guest at Blue Guitar Club at Arroyo Seco Golf Course, 1055 Lohman Lane, South Pasadena, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 7; tickets are $15, available at blueguitar.club. White showcases at Sun Space, 9683 Sunland Blvd., Sunland, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8; $5, call (818) 455-7234 or visit sunlandsunspace.wordpress.com for details. Ameliawhite.com, facebook.com/groups/198531850212122/?ref=br_rs