Amber Digby

Passion Pride & What Might Have Been – 2008 (Heart of Texas)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Amber Digby

Amber Digby plays and sings honky tonk music that is unabashedly classic-sounding. But while what she is doing is backward-looking, that doesn't mean that it exudes signs of a self-conscious effort to carefully reconstruct a bygone sound. Rather, Digby comes across as simply singing the music she loves in the manner in which it was sang by those who sang it first.

On this, her third release, that again means a collection that foregoes original material for a full plate drawn from the music's repertoire and heavy on the hurtin' and cheatin', songs performed by the likes of Loretta Lynn (Love is the Foundation, Deep As Your Pocket), Connie Smith (I Can't Get Used to Being Lonely), Tammy Wynette (Soakin' Wet) and Jean Shepard (Let Me Be the Judge). Hard shuffles alternate with keening ballads, there's a bit of Loretta-esque sass here and there and plenty of what the Possum calls "sad, slobberin' ones," and all of it is delivered with ample fiddle, steel and twangy Telecaster and with singing from Digby that evokes the emotive power and style of those predecessors. Pure traditionalism doesn't get any better than this.