Me And The Ghost Of Charlemagne, the new album from Amy Speace, is released on the 6th September.
A modern folk-singer whose music nods to the genre's 1970s glory days, Speace has spent two decades chronicling the high marks, heartbreaks, and hard roads of a life logged on the road. She's been a tireless traveler, chasing the dream from the coffeehouses of New York City to larger stages across the globe. Along the way, she's built an international audience without the help of a major label, relying instead upon a touring schedule whose milestones include Glastonbury Festival, NPR's Mountain Stage, and a yearly average of 150 shows.
The new album finds Speace focusing on the other side of that so-called dream. The real side, filled with an ever-shifting balance of struggle and joy. Produced by longtime collaborator Neilson Hubbard and recorded during the final weeks of Speace's pregnancy with her first son, Me And The Ghost Of Charlemagne captures Amy Speace at her most nakedly honest, with sparsely-decorated songs that double down on her larger-than-life voice and detail-rich songwriting. It’s an album about the colliding of dreams and reality, full of characters making sense of their lives when something is lost and then found. Really, it's an album about the trials and triumphs of an artist's journey - a journey that's no longer focused upon the destination, but upon the actual trip itself.
Discovered and mentored by folk-pop icon Judy Collins during the early 2000s, Speace left her career as a classically-trained Shakespearean actress and, instead, kicked off a string of acclaimed albums, including Songs for Bright Street, The Killer in Me, and How to Sleep in a Stormy Boat. Championed by The New York Times, NPR and other taste-making outlets for her solo work, she received further acclaim as a member of Applewood Road, a harmony-heavy trio whose self-titled album became a critical success in the UK, earning a five-star review from The London Sunday Times.
Years before Americana music received its own category at the Grammy Awards, Speace was one of the genre's earliest champions, mixing the best parts of American roots music — gospel, alt-country, folk, classic pop — into her own songs. Me And The Ghost Of Charlemagne follows in that diverse tradition, but it also shines its light on a new Amy Speace: a clear-eyed, reenergized songwriter who's done with chasing things that don't matter…but isn't anywhere close to being done with her art.
“Amy Speace is on a roll. Each new release has brought an expansion of her voice and her art, and she has reached the level of absolute mastery. Her new record Me and the Ghost of Charlemagne is brilliant. The song 'Ginger Ale and Lorna Doones' is a masterpiece, a hard hitting gut punch on every level- voice, melody, words, performance, instrumentation. I nominate it for song of the year, and predict that this song will bring legions of new fans to Amy’s work. Folk music doesn’t get any better than this.” - Mary Gauthier
“Amy has such a unique and beautiful way of expressing her truth. The sublime soulfulness of her voice and deeply honest poetry of her songs make her a vital artist for these times.” – Ben Glover
“Amy Speace writes songs that few artists can pull off. Following in the footsteps of the most traditional storytelling troubadours, she writes epic songs about our ghosts, our dreams, and our hope for salvation in it all. But like the best writers, she always makes the listener feel like she wrote each song for them personally.” – Neilson Hubbard
"There is a beautifully balanced tension and bitter-sweet throughout 'Me and the Ghost of Charlemagne' in which the writer artfully sets up questions and subtly hints at answers in a sophisticated storytelling style that Speace is known for. Delivered with a soaring, gutsy and at times, gorgeously vulnerable voice, these songs have a finely-spun political thread to them that weave stories of women's experiences of abortion, motherhood, life on the road away from family, the burden of comparison and expectations of how we should look. A powerful and alluring record." - Emily Barker