You Got Me Singing, Amanda Palmer’s first full-length album since 2012’s Theatre is Evil with the Grand Theft Orchestra, is a heart-felt tribute to both folk music and family. Along with her father, Jack Palmer, the album consists of twelve cover songs, spanning from Sinéad O’Connor’s “Black Boys on Mopeds” to Leonard Cohen’s “You Got Me Singing,” after which the album was titled.
Funded entirely by Patreon, the album cover itself is a pastiche of Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home. Recorded with a once-estranged father when Palmer was eight months pregnant, the simplicity of the songs reminds us of the power of music, and why we listen to it in the first place. They aren’t merely covers, but new versions of old favorites.
The album opens with Leonard Cohen’s “You Got Me Singing,” with both Palmers sharing vocals, Jack’s bass (think: Johnny Cash) complimenting Amanda’s quieter tones. From there, covers include a nursery rhyme, Richard John Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” where both Palmers swap vocals, and particularly relevant in today’s political climate, Sinéad O’Connor’s “Black Boys on Mopeds.”
As a complement to the O’Connor cover, Phil Och’s “In The Heat of the Summer,” soon follows. Written in 1963 about the Harlem riots, some of the lyrics have been changed in order to bring home the message. Jack Palmer sings, “Another black kid face down in the road, whose life did not seem to matter.”
Other highlights include “Skye Boat Song,” a tribute to Palmer’s mother’s family who originate from Scotland. The song tells the story about the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie to the Isle of Skye after the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Both Palmers again share vocals here.
The album overall has unconcealed messages about unity and togetherness. Though the songs were chosen because of their meaning to Jack and Amanda personally, the themes of family and peace are ubiquitous.
Amanda and Jack are currently on a short tour together now. Two New York dates remain:
July 20 – Le Poisson Rouge, New York
July 23 – Basilica Hudson, Hudson, New York
Key Tracks: Skye Boat Song, In The Heat of the Summer, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning