Narrowing The Gap

Mountain Fever Records

Amanda Cook was born and raised in Florida and cut her teeth playing with her father in a band called High Cotton. Since then, Cook, in both musical and geographic terms, has made the greater Appalachian and Blue Ridge region her adopted home. Songs such as “West Virginia Coal,” “My Used To Be Blue Ridge Mountain Home” and the fiddle-driven “Burning Down the Mountain,” resonate with a feverish mix of the tragedy, loss, and danger that is so much an ingredient of Appalachian history. 

Cook is, to say the least, a formidable singer, and she’s showcased well on Narrowing the Gap. These cuts sound as “live” as recorded music can sound, absent the hooting and hollering of an actual audience. Cook and co-producer Aaron Ramsey had the good sense to just hit the “record” button and let Cook and her band’s irrepressible energy and bluegrass fervor set the pace.

That’s not to say there’s any shortage of nuance and subtlety here. Haunting laments such as “Lonesome Leaving Train,” “Curtains” and “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over” are redolent with enticing melodies and stunning lyrics, even though they are sometimes slightly obscured in the mix.

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