Swing and Amiss

Willie Ames: Willie Ames

Reviewed by Jessica Hilo

I love the 1956 French film The Red Balloon. Sure the film is older than my parents and in a language I will never understand (from a nation just as confounding), but its message about the endurance of a dreamer in a world of cynics is both heartwarming and inspirational. Cue Willie Ames: a talented guitarist, singer-songwriter whose dreams of a solo career should have ended long ago. I hate to cast a stone at his beautiful, bouncing red balloon, but Ames’ self-titled EP is a hard listen. His vocals are unstable and bad impersonations of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Leonard Cohen- sans the onstage fall. His material is underdeveloped and lacking focus. The EP was a painful get-through saved only by Ames’ talent on the guitar. Stringing together playful, earnest melodies (“Dance with You” and “Heart Hit Hard”) and performing with the knack and consistency of a pro, Ames’ proves he has the talent to make it in the industry- only muted and perhaps backing a better vocalist (like Kelli Barker, featured in hidden tracks on the EP.) Let’s hope taking aim at Willie Ames inevitably leads to a future soaring above the rooftops of the French Riviera- until then let’s call this one a do-over.

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