Arts & Culture

The Big Jewcy: Alana Amram, Musician

There’s a myriad of potential reasons why folk music has had such a resurgence in the last decade.  Perhaps it started with Neutral Milk Hotel or maybe it was a reaction to the Bush presidency.  However it happened, there are … Read More

By / June 15, 2010

There’s a myriad of potential reasons why folk music has had such a resurgence in the last decade.  Perhaps it started with Neutral Milk Hotel or maybe it was a reaction to the Bush presidency.  However it happened, there are now so many acts, so many sub-genres of modern folk, that it’s hard to keep track.   A few of those acts, however, have given music fans no choice but to take notice.  Alana Amran grew up around music.  Both her mother and father were respected musicians and writers during an absolutely pivotal time in music’s history.  Alana has memories of Dizzy Gillespe ripping his shirt open, and pretending to breast feed her, while saying, "come to mammy."  That history seems to have brought richness to her music.  There is a sense when listening to her sing and strum that you as a listener are in good hands, that though what you’re listening to can be at times raw, it’s the product of a seasoned musician.  "One thing I can always count on is music.  It has been the only consistent thing in my life," Alana says.  Amram is one of those musicians that does a great job mixing the old with the new, embodying the folk spirit in the modern age and embracing technology for the good of her art.  "I love You Tube. You can do a lot more things yourself.  I’ll take MySpace over waiting at the post office for 2 hours to send out 8×10 photos, bios and demo tapes that sit on some guys desk."  Her voice has the strength of Neko Case, with venerability of Janis Joplin.  The songwriting carries the soul of Loretta Lynne and the kind of control that only a composer’s daughter could pull off.  When backed by her band, The Rough Gems, there’s an added soulful force that deepens the sound but, the strength and passion of her vocals alone are enough to seduce any listener past that initial judgment phase and through the threshold to serious listening.