From The Heart

Pam Childs

Pandt Records, 2005

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REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/14/2008

Pam Childs is a talented Memphis-based country/rock singer whose 11 tracks on her 2005 album From the Heart are just that -- gut-wrenching, wring-out-the-emotion excursions into her life. Backed by a powerhouse band, including guitarist Terry Hollahan, Childs' vocals may remind you of Melissa Etheridge. Her emotions and feelings are on her sleeve and the tales that Childs spins are entertaining to the ears.

"Tell Me 'Bout Love" kicks off the disc with a matter-of-fact litany of love in the reality many of us -- I'm including me -- face. Childs asks to be “told” about love "when the kids are home sick from school / When the bank account's all but empty / When the bills are all overdue / When the kids are in need of new clothes / When I'm wondering where the money all goes." These are stories about a family struggling to deal with issues that arise in daily life. All of the material on this album, especially the best cut, "Better Man," ooze with feelings of despair and hopelessness. Childs confronts being abandoned in "Better Man" but learns from the experience: "I don't know how to set up this damn TV but hey, neither did you / Since you left I've learned to live life on my own / I can hold down a job and keep up a home / I never thought I could make it on my own." Because Childs' strong vocal style demands your attention, these lyrics are powerful.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Childs does have a sense of humor when she navigates her way through "Must Be Doing Something Wrong." She sings that "everybody else is having fun / Soon they'll all be leaving with someone / I'll still be waiting for my prince to come / I must be doing something wrong." Dripping in irony, "Ain't It Funny" paints a portrait of Childs' life as she looks back at her journey of life and finds memories to cherish. Musically, Childs has assembled a group of outstanding players. Drummer Chad Cromwell provides syncopated backbeats with the right touches. Keyboardist Jason Webb shines on "Ain't It Funny" while guitarist Terry Hollahan lends his vocals and guitar throughout the disc.

I was lucky enough to catch Hollahan and Childs perform as a duo on a patio at a bar on Beale Street in Memphis in May 2007, and I was immediately convinced of their talent. Childs and Hollahan may have navigated through many of the songs on this release, but "Better Man" is the track they played on that Sunday afternoon that has been etched into my mind ever since, and From The Heart captures the talent I witnessed firsthand on that day.

Rating: A

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