AMY SPEACE

“What Amy Speace says – what she sings – she says with a confluence of poetry and honesty, of emotional specificity,” The New York Times.  

Amy Speace is a folk singer, timeless and classic, and a bit out of her own era. “She has one of the richest and loveliest voices in the genre and her songs are luxuriously smart,” writes Craig Havighurst (host of Nashville’s “Music City Roots). “She’s profoundly personal yet also a bit mythic.”  Since her discovery in 2006 by folk-pop icon Judy Collins, Speace has been heralded as one of the leading voices of the new generation of American folk singers. Her latest release, “That Kind Of Girl”, received rave reviews by Billboard MagazineThe New York Times and NPR.  Recorded live in 3 days with a small combo featuring Will Kimbrough (Emmylou Harris) and Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket), it is spare, direct and brutally honest.  As “That Kind of Girl” was being released, Speace was in the studio with a side project -- the trio Applewood Road, comprised of herself, fellow Nashvillian Amber Rubarth and the UK’s Emily Barker. They had met in 2015 at a coffeeshop in East Nashville and, after writing one song together, were signed to a deal with the London-based Gearbox Records. Their eponymous debut was released in February 2016 to astonishing 4 and 5 star reviews. The Sunday London Times called the album “a flawless set that has to be the most haunting release of the past year” and The Telegraph wrote “There’s a Moorish magic to the harmonies of this country-folk trio that recalls the vintage appeal of the Everlys and the Andrews.”  

Born in Baltimore, Speace studied classical acting in New York City after graduating from Amherst College and then spent a few years with The National Shakespeare Company and other Off-Off Broadway classical rep companies, doing guerrilla Shakespeare in Lower East Side parking lots, working backstage on Broadway, writing poetry in cafes and feeling increasingly like success as a theater artist was just out of reach. In this season of doubt, she bought a cheap guitar at a pawn shop in the East Village and began putting her poetry to music and in no time was appearing at local folk clubs The Sidewalk Cafe, The Bitter End and The Living Room. Judy Collins’ manager caught a set of Amy’s at the 2005 SXSW conference and brought her demo back to Collins, who had just started her own imprint, Wildflower Records and immediately signed Amy.  Her Wildflower Records debut “Songs For Bright Street,” was released to rave reviews in 2006.  She followed it up in 2009 with “The Killer In Me,” recorded with Mitch Easter (REM, the db’s) which had NPR comparing her to a young Lucinda Williams.  Judy Collins named her song “The Weight of the World “one of the best political folk songs I’ve ever heard” and it was awarded the #4 Folk Song of the Decade by NYC’s premiere AAA radio station WFUV.   In late 2009, Speace moved to Nashville, changing management and labels, and released a more introspective collaboration with producer Neilson Hubbard, “Land Like A Bird” (2011) on Thirty Tigers. In 2013, she received the best reviews of her career with the epic "How To Sleep In A Stormy Boat,” a string-laden song cycle inspired by Shakespeare, winning 4 stars from Mojo Magazine and a feature on NPR’s “All Things Considered”.  Rock critic Dave Marsh, long a fan, who contributed the album's liner notes, wrote "Amy Speace’s songs hang together like a short story collection, united by a common vantage point and common predicaments…it’s a gift to hear a heart so modest even when it’s wide open."