John Amen
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John Amen

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Laurel Johnson's Review of All I'll Never Need by John Amen"

In my recent review of John Amen's book of poetry, I said he was a renaissance man -- poet, artist, writer, musician. His music CD enhances Amen's status. All I'll Never Need is poetry set to music, with each song written by John Amen. As I listened to this CD, the term that came to mind was "troubador." Vocals are tenderly rendered, clearly expressed, and often intensely poignant, reminiscent of Dylan, Guthrie, and Lennon.

Genres are a satisfying mix of country, western, folk and rock. Recurring themes of a lonely man searching for love and meaning in his life add a haunting element. The excellent back up instrumentals contribute delicate or bluesy power to the vocals.

It was difficult for me to choose examples for review. I liked them all. For the sake of brevity I chose two examples from the 13 tracks. Each clearly demonstrates Amen's gift as singer and song writer. The chorus to "Fortress" has stayed with me, both melody and words: "She wears a fortress 'round her heart. She speaks with words made of fire. She takes the cold from the world, and wears a fortress around her heart."

"Daddy" is a chilling, powerful testament of love and abuse, one of the most memorable songs I've ever heard: "Daddy, you're the one I wrote all these poems for. Daddy, you're the one I wrote all those songs for. Daddy, you're the one I'd still love to know. Daddy, you're the one I fired all these guns for. Daddy, you're the one I dropped all these bombs for. Daddy, you're the one I still call my muse, Daddy, son and father of abuse. Daddy, you're the one I spilled all this blood for. Daddy, you're the one I chased all these ghosts for. Daddy, you're the one I bleed my heart to see. Daddy, the thing I'm running from is you and me."

To recap, the vocals and instrumentals are first rate. The sound quality is resonant and penetrating. Mandolin, violin, harmonica, bass, horns, and drums add depth and interest to the sound in addition to guitars. If you're weary of the same old sounds, give John Amen's CD a try. His music is distinctive.

Laurel Johnson
Midwest Book Review - Midwest Book Review


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Renowned poet and songwriter John Amen released his much anticipated CD, All I'll Never Need, on September 1, 2004. Ranging from stripped-down Americana ballads to fully instrumented rock pieces, the CD is comprised of thirteen tracks that highlight Amen's gift for melody, unforgettable voice, and lyrical mastery. Sometimes stark and haunting, other times triumphantly celebratory, these songs offer clear proof that Amen is an invaluable addition to our current musical landscape.

Amen's debut poetry collection, Christening the Dancer, was released by Uccelli Press in 2003, and has been nominated for several national awards, as well as a Pushcart Prize. Christening the Dancer has sold over 1000 copies to date. Additional information is available at www.johnamen.com.

Amen founded and continues to edit the award-winning online literary and arts publication, The Pedestal Magazine(www.thepedestalmagazine.com).