Little Amber Bottles
Imagine Johnny and June Carter Cash’s duets, the softer Georgia-soaked side of R.E.M., and the eerie baritone of Leonard Cohen. Now drag it all through the rust and grit of Detroit, sprinkle it with deeply southern country gothicism and you’ve got Blanche.
Let’s get all of the tidbits out of the way:
Blanche’s core members are the happily married Dan John and Tracee Miller. The pair played Luther Perkins and his wife in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.
Blanche also sat in as Loretta Lynn’s backing band on the Grammy Award winning Van Lear Rose. That album was produced by buddy Jack White, with whom Dan Miller used to play in a band called Goober & the Peas.
This current incarnation of Blanche features “Little” Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs and The Greenhornes, who handles lead vocals on “O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?”
Phew… lots of background info that adds extra layers to a band that would stand just as strongly without all of those details (but if you’re like me, you love to hear about the degrees of separation within the incestuous world we call music).
Little Amber Bottles plays like an acoustic jam on the front porch of a rundown wooden home on the bayou. Dan and Tracee’s shared vocals wrap around one another, and are a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll in a wonderfully non-Osmond way. Their duets remind me not only of Johnny and June, but of Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant. It’s rough-and-tumble rockabilly mixed with Motown-era sweetness; gorgeously melancholic in a heartbreaking way that’s also a little eerie.
Songs to start you off: “No Matter Where You Go,” “A Year From Now”and “What This Town Needs”