Amanda Agnew is a singer/songwriter from Bangor, Northern Ireland. Her latest E.P. ‘Think of You’, was released in March 2014 and recorded in Sony Studios Nashville, Tennessee. Agnew’s style can be described as Folk/Alt Country. She has a smooth and very sincere voice that sits comfortably in the Country style.

The lead track of her E.P. is ‘Think of You’, which has a carefree feel and cruises along nicely. The subject is light and sincere, and Agnew’s voice is the main feature in the track by a long shot. I guess the arrangements of Country tracks are pretty formulaic, which is still doing the trick so if it ain’t broke… As a whole it’s a perfect introduction to her style, is earnest in nature and makes for good listening while showcasing Agnew’s enviable voice front and centre.

Moving on to the next track ‘The Key to Success’ has a more melancholic tone and expands the emotional range of the E.P. This is the track where the young lovers aren’t getting on so well but there’s life in the old relationship yet judging by the optimistic lift of the song’s main hook. There’s room here for more instrument variety so it’s a good bit more interesting than ‘Think of You,’ by my ears. These tracks are a joy to listen to due to their clear quality and not-so-oddly remind me of The Corrs’ debut album ‘Forgiven Not Forgotten’… I wonder is Agnew’s soft northern voice the link there as the sound works well!

The final track, we received is called ‘The Fortune Rooms.’ There are some nods to Nashville in Agnew’s accent here and the track drives along similar to Think of You. This is a more mature sounding track lyrically and jumps out a bit more boldly than the preceding tracks. I think this song has the most universal appeal and should receive some favourable attention with the right airplay.

Agnew’s songs and voice have an earnest quality and a broad appeal which should be reason enough for success. I suppose like any big industry, the Country Music scene has a large pool of talent and the difficulty lies in standing out from the crowd. Grit will be required as the talent is already there.

You can catch Amanda and her band at Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards near Belfast at 8pm on 30th January.

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