Amy Trail, Cold Springs (Independent)

Amy Trail, Cold Springs, album cover

Local songwriter/pianist Amy Trail’s third solo album pushes home writer Thomas Wolfe’s axiom held in the title of his 1940 novel: You Can’t Go Home Again. In a long, noble tradition spanning Lafcadio Hearn to Lenny Kravitz of artistic wanderlust following its muse to New Orleans, Trail road-tripped to New Orleans at the dawn of the millennium, leaving her native Idaho in the rearview mirror to find years of labor-of-love in nightclubs, most notably her long-standing residency behind the piano at Pat O’Brien’s, where she has performed requests en route to learning a repertoire in the thousands. Over Cold Spring’s six racks, she imbues this musicianship into stark, sliced-to-the-bone narrative songwriting about the recent deaths of her father and grandparents in far-off Idaho, a once-familial place now fading in present-day’s shadow of life as a wife, mother and musician working in New Orleans. Spreading honey-butter vocals over verses about universally painful life experiences on opening track “There Ain’t Nothing There,” Trail’s vocals are on fine display, evoking a Stevie Nicks-meets-Shannon McNally vibe (though several tracks detour into some odd vocal territory). Her considerable piano chops come accented here by Ryan Clute (guitars), Chris Cedaris (guitar, mandolin), Jeff Mills (drums), Anthony Cuccia (percussion), Emelie Guidry (backing vocals) and Rex Gregory (flute). Cold Springs (a title in homage to her native Idaho) was recorded and mixed by Rick G. Nelson at Marigny Recording Studio. Tune into OffBeat’s Look-Ka Py Py Podcast to hear Trail’s humorous, heart-felt tales and live performance of “There Ain’t Nothing There.”