Review: Amy Speace "Land Like a Bird"

Television hasn't exactly been kind to the image outsiders have of New Jersey. Indeed the Jersey Shore, Real Housewives of New Jersey and news reports about former Gov. Jim McGreevey give an uneven  impression. However, singer songwriter Amy Speace wrote an album that included gentle goodbyes to New Jersey people and places in her new project titled "Land Like A Bird" as she prepared to move to Nashville. These songs give a more balanced and accurate portrayal of the hard working men and women that make up the Garden State and the gifted artist New Jersey lost to Tennessee.
Speace's husky vocals are put on full display with the first cut "Drive All Night," which offers an intense performance and earthy lyrics. The title track "Land Like A Bird" slowly sizzles with a minute long intro that builds to folk lyrical gold. Speace's musical interpretation during moments that feature her higher register are especially powerful and satisfying.

However, the best song on the album is the story-in-song "Ghost." Amy Speace carefully paints a vivid picture as she explains people that move in and out our lives. The upbeat "Change For Me" is the album's biggest surprise, and Speace has a cool Stevie Nicks meets Sheryl Crow sound that works.

The beautiful "Battened Hatches" sparkles with layers of emotion, but it is "Had To Lose" which might be the album's greatest chance for a radio chart hit. The carefully constructed melody and memorable lyrics envelope the listener. "Vertigo" could also be a chart hit, and this contemplative song improves with each listen.

Artists are too often compared with fine wines. However, in Amy Speace's case it's true. "Land Like A Bird" is a full-bodied project that tugs at the heart and challenges the mind. It is hard to ask for more than that.