AMANDA JO WILLIAMS
VOTED TOP 10 L.A. BANDS TO WATCH IN 2011 - (LA Weekly)
MARY'S BIG FEET mastering session
"Listening to Amanda Jo Williams’ rough-shod country-folk is like eating a squirrel stew supper before falling into bed, where you then lie awake and hear the haunted scrabbles of raccoons, coyotes and bears and wonder if you staggered out there, would you be eaten alive or inducted into some ritualistic animal society. Her primal music is an open maw to the mysteries and fears of the world. With a twang-heavy voice that sometimes breaks into manic gibberish or other cartoonish effects, she sounds like an unruly, sometimes lonely little girl left to her own devices." - LA TIMES (Margaret Wappler)
This Georgia-bred former fashion model (who, though allegedly transient, seems to spend a lot of time in L.A.) sings and plays lovably clunky new/old country like the love child of Emmylou Harris and Jonathan Richman. [Ed.'s note: To us she sounds more like the love child of a lesbic menage à trois between Melanie Safka, Minnie Pearl and Jane Birkin, but what do we know?] She warbles like a flush-faced li'l kid going totally for broke as she bashes away at that poor old acoustic guitar. But Williams is chameleonic; dig a bit and you'll find a painful honesty in her dark, raw tales of life's woes and wonders. Onstage, she's prone to quirky chitchat and stretched-out instrumental jams, helped by a solid band that includes dancing sprite Feather on foot bells [L.A. Weekly Music lo-o-o-o-ves Feather!] and the great, versatile Alex Maslansky on guitar. - LA WEEKLY (John Payne - 4/21/11)
Ok, lets just put it out there. Amanda Jo Williams is a FREAK! And, of course, that’s what makes her great and the basis for the reason we love her here at songshooter.com. Amanda is truly a unique voice in a time when music can use one. Her album title says it all --”Mary’s Big Feet”. Who would call their record that...??? A listen to her record is like a ride along with the caterpillar from Alice In Wonderland—throw in a few stuffed animals... you get my point. My favorite cut is “Waiting for You”. So lean left a little bit and enjoy the ride. peace, billy thin - Songshooter.com (Billy Thin - Mar 2011)
Migrating from the populated and frenetic, sweaty plains of her recent live performances, Ms Jo Williams has descended into dank, wooded forests; the sun is fading. Here, there’s a walloping loneliness in her voice, as if there may not be anyone out there anymore, and even the crickets have gone quiet. This is rough; like haunted field recordings from a quiet apocalypse, her tiny guitar and warbling singing often the only instruments, save for the reverb-soaked, ambient sounds. Despite the howls in the distance, she remains a mystic, skirting some lines between aged contemplation and the weird, awesome rambling of your children left to their own devices. And from that mixture comes something difficult and joyful. There is an expansive, a hopefulness, that constantly overwhelms whatever encroaching darkness is suggested. Near the end of ‘Homeheart’ her nonsense chorus is suddenly visited by a quick shock of percussion. On ‘Blue Toy Airplane,’ she’s joined with her young son who duets on lyrics about Trader Joe’s balloons, it it’s just too fucking cute, really. In other contexts, it could seem like a throwaway song, but coming late in the album as it does, it repurposes everything as a type of ghost-filled lullaby. If the woods go quiet, fill them with noise. - LA RECORD (Gerard Olson - Mar 2011)
The Georgia-bred songwriter’s growing legend is built as much on her prowess as a changeling as provocateur; in all its stripped-down explorations, “Mary’s Big Feet” has moments both magical and mystical. - Buzzbands (Kevin Bronson - 4/11/11)
She has a residency at the Echo every Monday in April and last Monday she and her 5-piece band played songs with excited rhythms and whipping country beats reminding Johnny Cash, some honky-tonk-feet-tapping-all-along tunes, stretching with psychedelic parts at times. Her songs are populated by wild animals (she has a song called ‘The Bear Eats Me’ and another one ‘Keep the Animals’) and especially her completely crazy high-pitched voice that sounded like a Hillbilly Betty Boop. Since I generally hate women whom we are supposed to admire because of their vocal prowess, I was right away interested by someone who was not trying to have a cloned ‘nice’ voice, but was rather following her own path, doing it her own way, not afraid of the freaky.
With her Julia Roberts’ good looks (curiously they are both from Georgia), she sat down behind a large bass drum that she was tapping using her foot, while strumming her little ukulele-sized guitar, surrounded by 3 bearded male on bass and guitar, and two females on a toy keyboard, drum-percussion and vocals, both doing exhilarating dancing moves on many songs and having a lot of fun.
Their outlaw hippie-country beats were very contagious and soon I was surrounded by a band of young girls wearing cowboy hats, and attempting to reproduce the fashion and the moves seen on stage, a cult following if there was one. - ROCK NYC (Alyson Camus - 4/7/11)
Amanda Jo Williams, rising star on the Los Angeles outsider/roots/new-folk scene, sings strange and beautiful ballads in a high-pitched, witchy voice, and strums a tiny guitar. When she’s in Los Angeles, she plays to full rooms a few times a week. In between times, she performs and hangs out with her kids near her 2nd (or 3rd) home of Woodstock, NY. This April she is releasing the unearthly acoustic wildness of Mary's Big Feet, a collection of solo home recordings. She is also putting the finishing touches on The Bear Eats Me, a studio record featuring her rollicking stomping country-psych band.
Amanda is originally from tiny Hogansville, GA, which was once a plantation and then, after the Civil War, a mill town. Amanda’s voice, her powerful drawl, and her infectious charisma reflect this history straight back from her DNA. Perhaps it is the source of the haunted energy that has characterized her modeling, her published writing (Grace Light Warrior), and her iconoclastic home-video work.
Amanda’s previous solo album, Yes I Will, Mr Man, drew positive comparisons to Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris andJohnny Cash, despite or because of its punky energy and rocknroll vibration. Four previous albums with her band Army Of Love have a warmer, rawer, vibrant and organic jamband/freakout feel. Tunes like “The Bear Eats Me,” which she has recorded (in quite different versions) solo and with her Los Angeles band, can give an idea of how quickly and diversely Amanda’s talents evolve. She doesn’t like to repeat herself or get stuck in a rut: "I just strum chords and whatever is on my mind and heart just flows out,” she says.“It’s about whatever’s being channeled. It’s about feeling good, being free, being open, very childlike. And it’s always about love.”
Her current performing group includes electric guitars (5-Track and Alex), electric bass (Jef), percussion (Feather & Abilene), the occasional banjo player or dancing children, and Amanda herself on bass drum, guitar, and that voice ...