Amber Lawrence does many things well, but there’s one thing in particular: on each of her albums she has produced at least one song guaranteed to make me cry every time I hear it, whether recorded or live. On 3 that song was ‘The Man Across the Street’; on Superheroes it was ‘The Lifesaver’, and on her latest album, Happy Ever After, it’s ‘The Lucky One’. There’s a reason Lawrence is able to do this: she writes and sings from an authentic place, and she is unabashed about showing sentiment and emotion. You get the sense that in conversation she wouldn’t be one for small talk – she would want to get right to the heart of a matter.
The songs on Happy Ever After address a range of experiences, not all of them positive. ‘Cheers to the Girls’ is an exhortation for girls (and women) to stand up for themselves in the face of others who try to crush them; on the track Lawrence is joined by Catherine Britt and Fanny Lumsden, with whom she’ll tour next year. ‘Drive By Breakup’ is about the shock ending of a relationship. And the bittersweet ‘The Lucky One’ is Lawrence acknowledging that despite sadness and loss, she has a lot to celebrate.
Happy Ever Afteris full of well-crafted country pop that will delight Lawrence’s fans and, hopefully, introduce her to new fans. One emotion that is common to the songs on this new album is joy – regardless of the subject matter, Lawrence sounds as if she loves what she does, and that makes listening to it a joyful experience. Lawrence deservedly won a Golden Guitar for Female Artist of the Year in 2016. She is a dedicated songwriter, performer and member of the country music community. These attributes don’t just make her worthy – they make her worthy of your time. And so does this lovely album.
Happy Ever After is out now through Social Family Records.