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November 21, 2017
"Deep Water is Amanda Cook’s first release on Mountain Fever Records. She’s been playing and performing for sometime and by the sound of this album she comfortably hit her stride sometime ago. The album has some appealing Americana covers but sits at the Country Pop end of Bluegrass with Patty Loveless, Dolly and Alison Krauss as references.Cook sings like a songbird whilst a tight five-piece Bluegrass band backs her delectable voice. “No Rhyme Or Reason”, an earlier single, tells a love story and is driven by an acoustic guitar (Scotty French) backed by banjo picking (Carolyne VanLierop) with violin fills (George Mason). A fabulous song. The band can harmonize beautifully and on Ronnie Bowman’s “Til I’m Too Old” Cook intones against Jeff Partin’s throbbing upright bass whilst the band add a honey sweet embellishment.Gillian Welch and David Rawling’s “Caleb Mayer” is a sinister tale of attempted rape leading to the assailant’s violent end. (In fairness, a regulation Bluegrass topic!) Despite her earlier kinder tones then there is a sinister chill in this macabre tale that demonstrates her sobriety when needed.“Mandolin Wind” becomes pure Country with Guy Clark’s composition delivered at a carefree pace with harmonies. The melody speaks for itself with some mandolin (Aaron Ramsey) and violin touches. The title track “Deep Water”, co-written by Cook and VanLierop is about finding resilience to keep away from getting away from life’s trials.“Come To Jesus” is a Bluegrass rendition of Mindy Smith’s composition. We revisit darker themes as the fiddle flails around the tune whilst harmonies abound. This certainly ignites the original. “Leaving Louisville” has the right Kentucky flavor to leave all wanting more as the band gets a fabulous work out before signing off.If there is something else to recommend this release then I usually don’t make a beeline for Bluegrass. Eventually I chose to review this because it kept coming around randomly on my iTunes library and each time I liked it more and more. It isn’t often you find an album where each track is a gem. You may also succumb! "
Jay, Florida's Amanda Cook acquired a love of bluegrass from her father who played banjo throughout her childhood. In early 2007, Amanda formed bluegrass group High Cotton with her father and received her first taste of performing, fueling a fire to continue on a professional level. In 2013, determined to create her own sound, Amanda stepped out on her own and released her first solo album One Stop Along the Road. The project made it to the top 150 Roots Music Bluegrass Album Charts for 2014 and 2015 (#61 for 2015 #56 for 2014). The self-released album also brought Amanda significant regional attention and furthered the desire to grow her brand, resulting in the addition of a full touring band. In early 2017, Amanda signed with Mountain Fever Records and recorded her debut album on the label "Deep Water." Amanda was excited for her 2nd album project, especially that she and band member Carolyne VanLierop co-wrote the title track Amanda has created quite a loyal fan-base through her palpable delivery of a soul-wrenching song. And her light-hearted, down-to-earth style helps her create an undeniably strong connection with her audience.
"I fell in love with Bluegrass Music at a very young age. My music is a blend of traditional and contemporary bluegrass. My influences are Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, and many others." -Amanda