By: Staff –
Juno-nominated roots-pop-americana singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume is back with her first new album is two years, “The Skin I’m In” (out Feb. 15th), which was produced by Colin Cripps (Blue Rodeo), and recorded at The Tragically Hip’s legendary Bathouse Recording Studio. Want a sneak peak? Stream the full album exclusively via Aesthetic Magazine below.
Rheaume started performing whenever and wherever she could, playing covers and hosting open mic nights all over Ottawa. During the summer of 2002, Rheaume played a women’s only festival. It felt amazing. A young performer with a year of university under her belt. Everything should be full of promise and hope. Instead, Rheaume was ridden with anxiety/panic, depression and turmoil. She didn’t feel comfortable in her skin and didn’t know why. A major meltdown in a mall in Ottawa was the turning point that sent Rheaume into counselling and therapy, as well as medications and diagnosis like severe anxiety, panic disorder and depression.
Eventually and with a great deal of help and counselling, Rheaume finally came out. She realized she was gay. Not everyone was on board, with mixed feelings from friends and family at the time. But, this was Rheaume’s realization and a pivotal point in breaking free of hiding her true self and starting to feel more comfortable in her own skin.
“The Skin I’m In” explores those themes, with powerful sentiment and universal empowerment. The album is blanketed in luminous production and Rheaume’s radiant but expressive vocal turns. There are roots and americana (or canadiana) flourishes sprinkled throughout the album, but songwriting shows a deft knowledge of pop hooks. But you’d be mistaken thinking this was some new country lab concoction. This isn’t an album made by algorithms. You can hear each players idiosyncratic personality. Nothing’s been scrubbed clean of character and the chemistry propels the album because of that. The choruses hit harder, and the emotion resonates deeper.
On the new album, Rheaume said:
Colin Cripps produced the album. We recorded most of the songs at the Tragically Hip’s studio The Bathouse, in Bath Ontario. It was my second time working there. Colin got a band together and we all went and stayed at the studio, which is right across the street from the lake. We recorded in April so it was fresh and turning to Spring. I loved working with Colin because he has such a creative and strong sense of songwriting, tones and how a collection of songs can all work together in a body of work. His ability to work with the band, and myself, on different parts and their delivery was positively challenging and really inspiring. I loved watching him work with guitar player Mike Tuyp, and guide him in a way that brought out Mike’s best and truest playing and parts. We would all wake up everyday and start working around 11am. The Bathouse has lots of beds and rooms where everyone can sleep… and we’d all just walk downstairs and step into the creative zone right away. Being secluded and out of the city was also really helpful, less distractions, and helped me to be the most present during the process.