Sanctuary for the Abused

Wednesday, June 29, 2005



After over a decade of making big-selling albums, but also being pigeonholed as an eccentric New Age princess, singer/songwriter Amos redefines her image in this appealing mishmash (coauthored with critic and Experience Music Project curator Powers) of her essays, quotes from her conversations with Powers and oral history observations from her band mates, husband, managers and friends. Readers may still find a few sprinklings of fairy dust in the proceedings, but Amos comes across as thoughtful, likable and witty, fully aware of her role as a female musician in the mainstream pop world yet determined to keep her work true to her spiritual and feminist perspectives. The book's structure lets Amos and Powers retain elements of a traditional biography--they candidly detail Amos's family history, her shaky entry into the music business, her relationships with formal religion and her multiple miscarriages before giving birth to her daughter--but it sidesteps a straightforward "this is my life" story line and lets Amos focus on how her experiences have shaped her songs. Powers and Amos also discuss practical issues about the music business and the roles female artists can take--or sometimes can't take--in controlling their public personae. With undoubted appeal to Amos's legion of fans, the book could offer additional interest to artists of all stripes, who may find reflections of their own experiences in hers.

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