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Singer songwriter spotlight: rockin' sounds of Amy Heffernan

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Amy Heffernan
Amy Heffernan with guitar and car? Ready for the road!

Who is indie rocker Amy Heffernan? Her album plopped on my desk awhile back, her music new to these ears. Yet, after listening it to many times, I know that her music is worth checking out. In many different ways, she brings catchy pop rock that's meaningful (maturity lyrics and songwriting).

Singer/songwriter Amy Heffernan is originally from
Fort McMurray,Alberta. Once she was ready, she had her bags packed  for Los Angeles. While there, she studied at the Musicians Institute Recording Artist Program as well as the LA music scene.

She eventually cut her her album "Being Awesome" working with Steve Giles and producer/mixer (as well as brother) Doug Heffernan. Her relocation to LA has definitely had an effect on her songwriting and sound. It's almost like a hybrid or "free-trade" agreement between a Canadian/U.S. sound. It's refreshing, as you don't usually here that type of authentic and slightly retro rock music these days.

The consummate musician, committed to her craft, Amy decided to go on an intense tour to "get her road legs". Playing over 100 shows in six months, including her so called “Johnny Cash Prison Tour” (playing to countless Northern Alberta work camps).

Amy Heffernan "Being Awesome"
Amy Heffernan's album "Being Awesome".

A refreshing sound, with punchy pop rock, her album  “Being Awesome” is unabashedly rock music all the way. In most cases that would be enough, but Amy adds different layers of catchy upbeat folk rock/country number with “Can’t Wait”. Not usually a fan of that sound, but I absolutely loved this song (video clip below).

The album rocks out, but has more than enough singer/songwriter tunes that show her mettle at songwriting and writing lyrics ("Knowing, Without U, Used To Be A Light). The rhythmic quality to the guitars is rock steady, every song showing something different ore qualities to her musicianship

The promo media/press kit shows Amy tongue in cheek in a child’s plastic car, among other things. My guess is that she has a fun lighter fun side that she probably shows at her live performances.

The Lady Gaga cover of “Just Dance” was surprising at first and I admit wasn’t the greatest fan of it (sounds very similar). To me, cover songs, need to add an element of the artist covering it, that is distinctly them, and not a direct copy of the original. After a few listens, I realizeed that Amy's interpretation of Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" does add something different of merit as it is a departure stylistically from the rest of her album and it's fun.

Also, the fact that you covering a current relevant pop artist (big star), however, I realize she must have known all this and did it anyway, and that’s good. Bold.

 Whenever I get new music, I like to test the songs out in my car. Why? Because whenever I drive, I always listen to music. I need to know if this is music I can chill/rap/rock/etc. to while driving my car.

Amy Heffernan
Amy Heffernan artistic press photo.

And my first thought after listening to “Being Awesome” album, was this IS a summer album. The kind of album you drive to in the sunshine heat, and turn the volume way up. It's kind of funny because she's originally from Alberta, and moved to LA. Therefore, "Being Awesome" has a distinct U.S. flavour in the sound, which I’m sure her LA experiences influenced her music.

“This is great music to drive to, relaxing, travelling music”.

Unfortunately, I didn’t catch her show at CMW (if I did CMW 3x, I still wouldn’t see all music acts I wanted), but that is how I heard of her (from the CMW guide).

Realistically one person can’t cover every good indie music artist, so I choose as carefully as I can, but since I was doing the Canadian female singer/songwriter series, it was a no-brainer (on my list) So, I was going to write about her eventually (a matter of time).

Hopefully she will come back out east because it would be great to see her live show. In the meantime, check out her record and some video clips of Amy's live performances below. Better yet, listen to her music while driving on a sunny summer's day.

Amy Heffernan Highlights:

-Drummer of Juno nominated artist Janelle for two years (touring Canada and teh U.S.)

-At the Musicians Institute Recording Artist Program (Los Angeles), won the "Best Project Award".

-Writing and recording her self-titled EP with her brother Doug, and good friend Steve Giles.

-Steering away from the typical singer/songwriter artists, she drew inspiration from acts such as Lady Gaga, Robyn and Juliet and The Romantiques.

-Amy is currently living in Alberta and has appeared with such acts as Trooper and the Road Hammers.

For more info on Amy Heffernan: Myspace - www.myspace.com/amyheffy;

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