I am a child of the ‘50s and spent my teenage years in the ‘60s, and as such, I am always amazed at just how much music is being produced independently and is available on the Internet. The competition to be recognized and break away from the pack so to speak is intense. It takes talent, perseverance, and some luck along the way. Amy Obenski seems to have been graced with all three of these attributes.
She caught some luck in 2007 when the song “Carousel” from her second album was used on the show
Grey’s Anatomy. It became an instant hit and reached number twenty-three on the iTunes folk chart. She has had perseverance. From The Deep is her third album release, and she has toured constantly for the past several years.
And she seems to have the talent as well. She writes her own material; twelve of the thirteen songs are her compositions. Her lyrics are sophisticated and she keeps the music simple in order to keep the focus upon them. Her vocals are adequate but fit her musical style well. I thought of an early Joni Mitchell while listening to her sing. She also does not use backup singers, so the vocals are all her. She plays guitar and keyboards while keeping the backing instrumental accompaniment to a minimum. There are just drums, bass, and some occasional string instruments. Obenski’s overall presentation is gentle. She is a singer/songwriter whose sound fits in somewhere between a folk and pop feel.
The biggest handicap to this release is a sameness to the music, which seems to be an issue with many independent singer/songwriters. I would have liked to see a few more up-tempo songs to form a counterpoint to her thoughtful, slower ballads. It would have made things a tad more interesting and certainly livelier.
Obenski’s songs allow the mind to wander. “Green Banks” effectively uses a cello to enhance her wonderful lyrics which contemplate on the lack of harmony among people and the environment. “Words On A Page” is a subtle song about people avoiding others but still stealing glances. “Gravity,” “Long Ago,” and the title track continue the simple yet effective presentation of her creations.
Amy Obenski has a lot going for her; now she just needs to define what will set her apart. From The Deep is a solid album upon which to build in the future.