It’s been almost a year since the Amanda Broadway Band released their debut full-length album, The Ache. Last February, the band and Kyshona Armstrong performed at Analog in Nashville for their album releases. Since the records were releasing on the same day, they decided to partner up on the release show and turn it into a benefit for a charity Kyshona was working with. That’s the spirit that is what makes the music community in Nashville one that’s more collaboration than competition. I had just started getting to know Amanda before the pandemic and I am a fan of her as a human being and her musical talent is off the charts. The band recently released a new single; a quite different take on the Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic, “What The World Needs Now is Love”.
AnaLee: When we chatted a year ago ahead of the release of The Ache, we talked about your nine piece band and the incredible talent throughout it. You mentioned wanting to include your background singers on some leads as well and you’ve done that with your cover of “What The World Needs Now Is Love”. Tell us a little about coming up with this arrangement and your band members that sing on this track.
Amanda: It all unfolded very organically. In fact, we never set out to cover this song at all. At some point during lockdown, a musical idea came to me and wouldn’t leave me alone… so I decided to pay attention to it and bring it to the band. The vocal vamp (“what the world needs now, what the world needs now”) heard at the end of our arrangement is the motif that started it all. I worked backwards from there, sketching out the vocal phrasing for the verses and choruses. Once I had something I could actually sing to another person, Nate (Felty) and I got together and laid down a vocal/drum demo. From there, the rest of the band got involved and it turned out to be the most collaborative arrangement we’ve done so far. I immediately knew I wanted to ask Amber (Woodhouse) and Maureen (Murphy) to sing some lead vocal lines on the track, and was really excited they were on board. As everyone in this town knows, these women are incredible, compelling vocalists and performers. You pay attention when they sing. Creating space for Amber and Maureen to shine only makes the band stronger and more dynamic. “What The World Needs Now Is Love” is perpetually relevant, and so universal. It really lends itself to a communal and collaborative spirit and offered a great opportunity to feature other voices.
AnaLee: Your album release show last February was one of the last two shows I attended before the pandemic kicked in and shut it all down. You recently released a video from that show, a link to that live performance is below. Can you tell us how you and Kyshona Armstrong came up with the idea of sharing your album release shows?
Amanda: Kyshona and I know each other as friends and colleagues and I had stopped by one of her shows in town one night. She announced on the mic the release date for her upcoming album, Listen, and I was tickled when I heard her say February 28th. When we caught up after the show, I told her that ABB’s record was dropping the same day. We both were like, “sooo, should we do a show together or what?” I genuinely look up to Kyshona and felt honored that she would share such a night with me and the band. As we started diving into details, we realized that while from different perspectives and experiences, there are some overlapping themes within the messaging of these albums. That, combined with the benefit for Wild Indigo Programs, led us to call the show “More In Common,” which shares a name with one of the songs from Listen. By the way, if anyone reading this has yet to hear that album, please do yourself a favor and give it a spin – and be sure to truly listen to Kyshona’s words. It was such a beautiful night. Our community really showed up and there was a lot of love in the room. I remember thinking I had never given and received so many hugs from so many people in one evening. Looking back now, it’s as if I was unknowingly filling up my tank before the pandemic forced us all to be apart from each other physically. I think of that often.
AnaLee: Your album, The Ache was released just weeks before the pandemic shut everything down. What’s the last year been like for you and has any of it let to inspiration for writing new music?
Amanda: Yeah, talk about timing. That record, and in particular the title track “The Ache” could have been written during/about this past year. It’s almost as if we pre-emptively wrote about some of what we’ve all been experiencing. For me it’s been a mixed-bag. Obviously, I felt the devastating effects on the music industry… the loss of income, momentum, and the joy of making music with other people. And of course, I’ve also shared in all the emotions that accompany the circumstances and traumas of this past year. However, my husband Mikie and I are fortunate, and we have made it through with not only our basic needs met, but with some silver-linings as well. The space and time allowed attention to be given to things that really needed it. My mental health being one of them. I also leaned into being more involved in my community. And I spent a lot of time reflecting and evaluating EVERYTHING. I tend to process slowly. There have been inklings here and there… but only just recently have I really felt inspiration for new music to rise to the surface. A lot has been percolating that is now finally starting to manifest into tangible ideas. I think it’s time to make the next record. BRB gonna go call the band…
Amanda Broadway Band, “What The World Needs Now Is Love”
Amanda Broadway Band, “BS Blues, Live from Analog”