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Entertainment News

Sunday, 28 December, 2008 2:22 PM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Amber Rhodes

Photo by Jessica Farrell

Amber Rhodes

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2008 CMA Close Up News Service

In older times, ships at sea found their way home by triangulation. In today's music industry, artists can similarly chart their courses through the relationship of three points.

For Amber Rhodes, the first of these is Lexington, Ky., where she grew up with a love of Country Music. Point two is New York City, an unlikely port for those who follow the Country star. Still, while pursuing options as an actress and dancer, Rhodes connected with Axel Neihaus and Erik Steinert, co-owners of the Brooklyn-based production and artist development company Stray Dog Music. Their meeting led to the studio, where they produced her debut album, Goodbye Yesterday.

As sole writer on four songs and co-writer on the remaining six, Rhodes exhibits a particular way with hooks and words. The first single, "So Long Goodbye," which she penned with Hugh Colocott, builds momentum through a rush of deftly rhymed lyrics through the second half of each verse and into a classically crafted and catchy chorus. Her writing hand is steady on the ballads too, as on "Goodbye Yesterday," where practically the same structural formula leads to an equally rich but more poetic expression, all of which she enhances with a vocal style that moves easily from sensitive to sassy.

The third point in Rhodes' constellation? It's Nashville, of course, where her ongoing collaborations with local writing talent and imminent second album confirm that her career is on course.

IN HER OWN WORDS

MUSICAL HERO
"My grandfather. He was offered recording contracts but never accepted the offers because of his commitment to his family. He played music purely for the love of it. I'm sure that's why he was so good at it."

DREAM DUET PARNER
"Alison Krauss."

SONG YOU'D SECRETLY LOVE TO COVER
"'At Last.' It's my favorite song but I'll never do it. No one could even come close to Etta James' version."

PHRASE YOU SAY OVER AND OVER
"I'll start my diet tomorrow."

FAVORITE FOOD ON THE ROAD
"Sea salt and vinegar potato chips."

SONG YOU SING IN THE SHOWER
"'I'm Walking on Sunshine.' I play the air horn and guitar parts too."

PET PEEVE
"People who are ALWAYS late and coffee that's too hot to drink right away."

SONG YOU WISH YOU HAD WRITTEN
"There's so many! Off the top of my head, Lee Ann Womack's 'Why They Call it Falling.'

MODE OF TRANSPORTATION YOU PREFER
"Tour bus. It's an apartment on wheels. You can't beat it."

ACTOR WHO WOULD PORTRAY YOU IN YOUR BIOPIC
"Charlize Theron. She's been my favorite actress for years. She could play just about anyone in my opinion. She's much, much prettier than I, so she'd make me look GREAT on the big screen."

TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY
"The Long Way Around."

WHEN THEY LOOK BACK ON YOUR LIFE IN 50 YEARS, WHAT YOU HOPE PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOU.
"Besides, 'She still looks like she's 28?' Hmm, that I was a good person and that one of my concerts was one of the best they've ever been to."

On the Web: www.amberrhodes.com

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