Amanda Dreher
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Amanda Dreher

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Of music and men - and sadness"

by Emma Downs | Journal Gazette
July 4, 2008

Local folk-pop artist Amanda Dreher writes a lot of songs about men, she says. (“Men and sadness,” she adds, only half-joking.) But it's also true that Dreher's music - a collection of hushed and restrained songs, etched with stunning lyrical complexity and uncompromising honesty - is also about the complexity of human relationships. And men. And sadness.

“Not that men and sadness always go together,” she says, laughing. “I'm sure there are plenty of happy things about men for me to write about, too. Eventually.”

But while it's true that Dreher's first album, “Today Comes With Its Own Set of Problems,” is darkened by bittersweet confessionals and self-analysis, the 10-song album is also filled with surprising musical touches - guitar that dances between stark and strummy and lush and delicate - and a variety of musical contexts. Live, Dreher is alone with her acoustic guitar; on the album, she's backed by pop-rockist backup - pulling from folk influences as varied as bluegrass and the folky jazz of Norah Jones.

“People say it's familiar but original,” Dreher says. “That's pretty accurate. It's kind of like how they call America a melting pot or a salad bowl. The synergy just happens when you have all these things coming together. It's a very natural process, allowing all these influences to gain harmony in the music.”

The album includes what Dreher calls “little pieces of fiction” - stories and character sketches backed only by sharply picked guitar and Dreher's precise, conversational vocal style, a technique that adds to the intensity and starkly emotional quality of her lyrics.

“Originally, I wrote these songs up at night in my room,” she says. “I've always been the writer kid; alone, writing all the time in a notebook. It's like what (First World War-era poet) Wilfred Owen said, sometimes people's creative work can speak for you. Other times, it can't. And then you have to write something of your own. That's what this album was, a struggle for self-expression.”

The track “Those Who Favor Fire,” for instance, was inspired by the funeral of a friend of a friend, a soldier who was killed in Iraq a couple years ago. Dreher recalls members of Westboro Baptist Church protesting outside the funeral, holding signs cryptically declaring the death of the soldier as “punishment” for the U.S. military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy for gay service members.

“It upset me, seeing them there,” Dreher says. “And I saw how much it upset my friend. It's debatable whether or not this war is honorable. But what those soldiers are doing is honorable. You can't ignore that. That was something I felt I needed to say.”

Currently, Dreher - a native of Washington Court House, Ohio - has finished college at Taylor University and is debating graduate school. But, for the summer at least, she'll continue to gig around Fort Wayne. Music, she says, has been an obsession since her dad taught her how to play “Mr. Bojangles” on a guitar at 10 years old. So graduate school might have to wait while she explores music as a career.

“My music is a release,” she says. “That's a big part of why I want to pursue it, if not as a vocation than as a dominant avocation. I definitely have a preoccupation with music right now. I can't go anywhere without my guitar for too long.”
- The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

"WSHS graduate releases folk music CD"

by Debra Gaskill | Managing Editor
Friday, July 11, 2008

A Washington C.H. musician who now calls Indiana home has released her first CD of original folk music.

Amanda Dreher, the salutatorian for Washington Senior High School's Class of 2004, now resides in Fort Wayne, Ind., and she's making a bit of a name for herself on the local music scene.

Dreher, who picked up her first guitar at age 10, released a CD of folk music titled "Tomorrow Comes with Its Own Set of Problems" in April.

While most of her performances have been at Fort Wayne-area coffee shops, Dreher will be returning to Ohio at 7 p.m. Aug. 16 when she performs at the Union Christian in Serenity Church, 237 S. High St., Hillsboro.

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette called her songs "a collection of hushed and restrained songs, etched with stunning lyrical complexity and uncompromising honesty... about the complexity of human relationships."

Dreher, the daughter of Jeff and Debra Dreher, said her influences range from Nickel Creek and Ryan Adams to older artists, such as Gordon Lightfoot, Jonie Mitchell and Jackson Brown.

For Dreher, folk music just fits.

"It seems my voice is suited for it," she said in a telephone interview. "I don't have than rock and roll gravel and I don't have a lot of twang (for country music)."

More importantly, however, "it's the kind of music I enjoy."

Dreher calls her music "prog-folk" or "alt-folk," terms that she jokingly says "lasts about a week" until she finds another term to characterize it.

Dreher's favorite thing about folk music is what she calls "the freedom to move around."

According to her Web site, it was during the years she spent earning her bachelor's degree in professional editing at Taylor University in Fort Wayne, that she wrote the songs that came together to make up "Today Comes With Its Own Set of Problems."

"Those songs tell a lot of what I'm leaving behind-what I've even already passed beyond," she said on the site. "And that's what music often does. It takes those things and externalizes them, gives them a life of their own, so they can step away from mine and then I can go on. For a time, I'd still cling to them, I'd hold onto those feelings, and it was painful. But, I'm learning to let go through the music I make. I mean, they're not all autobiographical or anything, but there are elements in all of them.... Mostly, they're songs about relationships, and about being alone thinking about relationships. There's this theme of distance, too, this distance we're constantly trying to overcome as people trying to get to know each other and connect."

The Dreher family moved to Washington C.H. in 1993 from Greenfield.

Amanda has two siblings. Her brother Joshua, is a 2007 graduate of Washington city schools and a student at Cedarville University. Amanda's sister Hannah who sang some backing vocals on Amanda's CD will be a junior at Washington this year.

For more information on Dreher's August concert contact the church at (937) 393-8460. "Tomorrow Comes With Its Own Set of Problems" can be purchased on iTunes or Napster or through her Web site, - Record Herald (Washington Court House, OH)

"Amanda Dreher: Today Comes With Its Own Set of Problems"

On her debut album, Today Comes With Its Own Set of Problems, Fort Wayne songstress Amanda Dreher delivers track after track of luscious acoustic pop. On tracks like "Those Who Favor Fire" and "When It Storms," Dreher channels Natalie Merchant and, to a lesser extent, 10,000 Maniacs. Dreher comes as a breath of fresh air amidst so many carbon copies of Jewel. - Whatzup magazine (Dec. 4-10, 2008 issue)


"Today Comes With Its Own Set of Problems" (LP released spring 2008), available on iTunes, Napster, and Amazon mp3; also available on CD directly from the artist at shows.



"I'm an independent singer-songwriter currently based in the Midwest, where I grew up listening to country music as a young'un, and later rock, classical, pop, alternative, folk, and bluegrass.... my music displays an amalgamation of these styles; it's easiest to call it just some type of folk. I can't remember a time when I wasn't singing, but it was at about 12 years old when I really started playing acoustic guitar, and shortly thereafter writing songs. Mostly, because that's just how it's worked out thus far, I write songs about relationships, and about being alone thinking about (obsessing over, mulling over, brooding over, and, finally, repressing thought of) relationships. There's this theme of distance, too, this distance we're constantly trying to overcome as people trying to get to know each other and connect. I write about other things too.

In the latter part of 2007, with some help from Heath and Shauna at Melodious Design, I recorded a ten-song album of originals at Stritenberger Audio, a studio in my hometown of Washington Court House, Ohio. Released the album, entitled "Today Comes With Its Own Set of Problems," in the spring of 2008. (You can find more about it by visiting the Music and Press pages on this site, as well as my Myspace -- eck, that sounds redundant -- page.)

Well, that's enough for introductions. The rest is for you to find out, as soon as I finish making it all up."