Amilia K. Spicer is engaging life and her art. Her voyage from a near East Coast upbringing to the comparatively arid climes of Texas has included illuminating excursions to far flung locals like Southeast Asia, among other places. She’s graced the stages of the Kennedy Center and the Main Stage Kerrville Folk Festival while also enjoying significant mainstream exposure through placing her songs in big budget television productions like Party of Five and a number of indie films. Her latest single “Love’s For Living” is the first we’ve heard from Spicer since the release of her latest full length studio release Wow and Flutter, her most powerful and fully realized collection to date, and it finds Spicer consolidating on her achievements despite serving up a self-described “holiday song”. There’s nothing throwaway about “Love’s for Living” and it’ll undoubtedly connect with her existing audience while further expanding it.
The tune is a winner from the first. It has quite an amiable air, a spring in its step without ever being “bouncy” per se, and the acoustic instrumentation driving the song has an urgency you don’t often associate with such a sound without ever sounding remotely strident. The song runs a little over three minutes in length, but there’s a lot of substance here both musically and lyrically. There’s no conventional drumming, but there’s a little percussion involved to give the arrangement a more clearly defined pulse and the graceful modulation from verse into chorus will affect listeners without ever sounding overly physical. There’s a tangible confidence in the performance that never pushes too hard on the listener and, instead, makes this feel like a sturdy musical experience, yet melodic.
Much of the melodicism can be found in how Spicer sings the tune. There’s a discernible rising and falling in her lines and being counterpointed by a flourish of delicate backing vocals punctuates her voice nicely. There’s a certain amount of wry, winking detachment in her delivery, but there’s also real warmth as well and she definitely latches onto the vocal melody with unwavering commitment. This is a singer who stays with every line; there’s no coasting. There’s a definite amount of understated romanticism percolating through the lyrics; I’d hesitate to call this an outright love song, there’s faint shades of shadow in everything Spicer writes, but it will definitely recall that for many listeners. It’s okay. This is, at its heart, a superb piece of musical entertainment with more than a dollop of personal meaning that manages to strike a more universal note than your typical song in this vein. Amilia K. Spicer shows no signs of slowing down her development following the release of Wow and Flutter and her holiday single “Love’s For Living” conclusively proves it. It comes across as authentic, self-possessed, and tasteful enough to know exactly how to accomplish its goals with a minimum of fuss; even a single hearing of the song is likely enough o convince you Spicer entered the studio knowing exactly what she wanted to accomplish.