Candace Bellamy - In My Lane (2013)

Candace Bellamy
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Candace Bellamy can’t claim to have experienced the street adventures of some of today’s pop stars. Yet her backstory is compelling in its own way and provides a hint to what listeners hear in her music.

Bellamy grew up in Knoxville, which likely influenced the rock and country sounds that can be heard in her music. Knoxville is about 400 miles east of Memphis, which is the city associated with the gospel, blues and soul music that can also be heard in Bellamy’s music. Bellamy grew up wanting to be a doctor, and she achieved her dreams. Yet, her experience singing in ensembles in high school and college left her with an unscratched itch to perform. She filled that need by acting in musical theater, taking voice lessons and singing. Finally, the child who was told that she could accomplish anything took the risk of walking away from her career as a doctor and pursuing a music career.

Candace Bellamy can’t claim to have experienced the street adventures of some of today’s pop stars. Yet her backstory is compelling in its own way and provides a hint to what listeners hear in her music.

Bellamy grew up in Knoxville, which likely influenced the rock and country sounds that can be heard in her music. Knoxville is about 400 miles east of Memphis, which is the city associated with the gospel, blues and soul music that can also be heard in Bellamy’s music. Bellamy grew up wanting to be a doctor, and she achieved her dreams. Yet, her experience singing in ensembles in high school and college left her with an unscratched itch to perform. She filled that need by acting in musical theater, taking voice lessons and singing. Finally, the child who was told that she could accomplish anything took the risk of walking away from her career as a doctor and pursuing a music career.

That pursuit took Bellamy to the southwestern musical capital of Austin, Texas, where she sang in multiple bands, studied music at the University of Texas and immersed herself in that city’s music scene. That is where SoulTracks discovered her in 2010 when Bellamy released the excellent EP A Thousand Shades of Blue, and she continues to make music that merges gospel, soul, blues, rock and country on her first full-length project, In My Lane.

After listening to this record, one can’t be blamed for concluding that the album is ironically named. Bellamy moves from the country ballad “Skies are Grey” to blues-rock stomper “Johnny.” The latter song tells the story of a young man who changed from a sweet little boy to a hardened young man who seems destined for jail or the grave. Bellamy tells the story from the perspective of a neighborhood elder who watches his transformation with growing.

Jazz makes an entry on two slow numbers, the sensual “Like Honey,” in which Bellamy compares the sweetness of her lover’s essence to honey, and “Walk Away,” which sports a Nancy Wilson-ish type vibe. This is a mature crossroads song about the dawning realization that something is amiss in the marriage relationship, despite all of the trappings of happiness. In both songs, Bellamy’s vocals assume a conversational feel that allows the musicians to improvise around the sung lyric. This can be heard in the interplay between Bellamy and the acoustic guitar on “Walk Away.”

The album’s title is ironic if not oxymoronic because no one musical lane can contain Bellamy’s willingness to switch genres. Bellamy proceeds as if she is performing on one giant musical open road. Yet, in many ways, the artist moves consistently in one direction. She is supplying an album for those who enjoy mature music that doesn’t neatly fit in categories, and she lives comfortably in those places where the lines between genres blur. The result is a disc that is both varied and intriguing, and one of the early winners of 2013. Highly Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

Click here to order an autographed copy of "In My Lane" from Candace

 
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