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MP3 Amy Garland Band - Plays Well With Others

An Arkansas diamond. Folky blues songwriter. A jaunt into softer folk shake Equate to: Sheryl Crow.

12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Hard Rock BLUES: Rockin' Blues

Plays Well With Others Songs

Talk with any musician-from any town,from any genre-and centripetal themes will issue Yes, music is astir personal expression and individual focus, but it's also astir collaboration, communication and cooperation. The best bands are the ultimate representation of that time-honored concept: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Thus it is with the Amy Garland Band, the popular Little Rock group that blends a variety of backgrounds, experiences and styles to produce music that is at once uniquely Southern but yet impossible to categorize. The name of the band's debut album, "Plays Well With Others", speaks volumes. The project is all astir the band, not astir any one of the members. And it's astir the songs.

Since replanting her Louisiana roots in Arkansas's musical soil in 1994, Amy Garland has been one of the area's most popular and hard-working artists. Performing in solo, duo and full-band formats, mixing rock, folk, country, blues and gospel styles, playing in rock clubs, coffeehouses, vintage clothing stores, acoustic cafes, private parties, and in her own living room, Amy has played for the people. Through this variety of projects and variety of sounds, she has proven consistently that she indeed plays well with others.

But Amy has never played better than she does with Ben Harris...and vice versa. The pair teamed in 1999, and it is no coincidence that the collaboration has culminated with the release of "Plays Well With Others," the first full-scale recording effort for either. That the studio time at Poynter's Palace- the pre-eminent local studio owned and operated by engineering whiz Barry Poynter- wasn't booked until Mike Nelson and Bryan Withers became the bands's hard driving rhythm section was no coincidence.

Amy and Mike each have spent half their lives playing in bands, the long-term on-the-job experience honing their versatility and their skills. Ben and Bryan provide the ideal counterbalance, trained in college music programs, where each shucked the confining properties of classical music in favor of the more spontaneous field of jazz. Both now give lessons to up-and-comers learning their craft. Like the best teams, the Amy Garland Band thrives on complementary elements that contribute to a well-rounded musical portrait.

"Plays" mirrors the backgrounds of its creators, rich with complementary sytles and sounds. Four songwriters are represented, with Amy's influence the only constant thread. In an age that finds many groups using a recording to introduce themselves to the public, the debut release of the Amy Garland Band bucks the trend. Perhaps the most established artist on the local scene who didn't have an album to her credit, Amy Garland has always realized that she would know when the time was right to record.

A single listen will prove that the time indeed was right for the Amy Garland Band to makes its musical statement. "Plays Well With Others" wears well- it plays well with anybody and everybody. In fact, repeated spinnings may spur listeners to redub the album, "Plays Well FOR Others."

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