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Amanda Rheaume Amanda Rheaume
Album: Holding Patterns
Label: Big Lake
Tracks: 12
Website: http://www.amandarheaume.com/

Until SummerTyne at Sage Gateshead, this past summer, my music radar had somehow missed Amanda Rheaume. She performed a set, in fact, her first UK performance, on the free outdoor stage that weekend and had the audience in the palm of her hand. She performed as The Amanda Rheaume Trio Amanda Rheaume Trio and watching, you would never know this was her first time in the UK or at SummerTyne, so confidently did she grab the attention of the outdoor crowd, with banter and energetic performances of songs from her new CD, Holding Patterns.

Following on from her highly acclaimed 2014 CD, Keep A Fire, Amanda Rheaume, who hails from Ottowa, Canada, has opted for more of a mainstream country pop sound on the long awaited Holding Patterns. The twelve track album was produced by respected producer Jim Bryson, who has also produced CDs for artists such as Kathleen Edwards.

A true narrative song, The Day The Mountain Fell" afford an Rheaume the opportunity to recall the story of an young cousin who, rather miraculously, survived a mudslide. It shows her seemingly innate ability to live inside the story of a song and bring the listener into it with her. The first time I listened, I felt like I was there when the mudslide happened and wanted to cheer the song's protagonist.

Rheaume has always, it seems, had a strong social conscience and is very much involved with several causes especially those close to home. Never is this side of her character more apparent than in the achingly beautiful song, Red Dress. Through the hauntingly beautiful lyrics, Rheaume simply, honestly and beautifully, recounts the shocking story of indigenous women who were killed and their deaths never investigated by authorities. Moreover, she made the generous decision to donate proceeds from sales of the song's single release to the cause.

Other standout songs include the guitar led Get To The Part, which has definite radio potential, "Mind Over Matter"with echoes of Eddi Reader and Suzanne Vega, Time To Land, Wolf Of Time and Beat The Rain.

It isn't difficult at all to see why Amanda Rheaume has been both awarded and nominated, for numerous awards in Canada, and I suspect that is merely the beginning. She has a European tour, followed in early 2017 by more UK dates. I, for one, will be looking for a date near me.

Helen Mitchell