Little Amber Bottles

Original Signal

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”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Comin’ At Ya!
    Comin’ At Ya!

    The Blu-ray reissue of Comin’ At Ya, a 1981 3D Spaghetti Western movie falls flat.

  • Bobby Rush
    Bobby Rush

    Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush ( Omnivore Recordings). Review by James Mann.

  • Geezër

    Geezër brought their old-school show all the way from their Miami rest home, and Julius C. Lacking thinks they were quite spry.

  • Bully

    Bully greets Orlando with apathy and anger toward one of its theme parks. Jen Cray smiles and thinks, “Man, this band would have fit in well in the nineties!”

  • The Pop Group
    The Pop Group

    For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder. Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Luther Dickinson
    Luther Dickinson

    Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook: Volumes I & II (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Conway

    Big Talk EP (Self-Released). Review by Jen Cray.

  • Freakwater

    Scheherazade (Bloodshot Records). Review by James Mann.

  • The Haymarket Squares
    The Haymarket Squares

    Light It Up. Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • Ani DiFranco
    Ani DiFranco

    Years pass, and so do our legends, but one constant remains: there are always artists living and breathing that are worth your time and attention. Ani DiFranco is a major one, according to Jen Cray and a whole legion of fans.

From the Archives