“The Sea Drift,” which will be released on June 24, marks the complete return of “strength” and “confidence” for Boon after a serious accident.
Behind the music, behind the song, behind the words, there are the stories, and what a story Amy Boone has of her life.
Not only does Boone team up with Willy Vlautin, who is a prolific writer on the side, with Portland duo The Delines to record, tour, play shows and release albums, including “The Sea Drift” on June 24, via Jealous Butcher. Records, but she has a near-death experience that still shakes her to remember at times.
Six years ago, while still living in Austin, Texas, Boone walked the sidewalk. A woman wore a cast on her foot and drove using her opposite foot to brake and accelerate on the street. Her cast got stuck between the brake and the accelerator, and the vehicle sped up and jumped the curb and hit Boone, pinning her against a cinder block wall.
Boone suffered numerous fractures, soft tissue and nerve damage, and required skin grafting. This obviously set her back in her career, physically and emotionally. You wouldn’t know it now, as Boone’s cheerful and friendly demeanor challenges her to live with past trauma.
“Weird crash. Perfect storm type situation,” Boone said.
“I’ve been put under the knife nine times. I’ve been in chronic pain for the rest of my life. I used to walk with a cane, but now I don’t.”
Boone received a settlement and had recently taken out insurance. “I was glad she was driving a Prius and not a pickup,” she added. “Or, I wouldn’t have a leg.”
She added, “It’s just part of my story now.” Which begs the question: that would definitely make a good song, wouldn’t it?
“I should write the tragic songs and not Willy!” she says. The Delines actually had another album in the works at the time, “The Imperial”, which ended in 2019.
Well, it would take a bit of strength to tear songwriting out of Vlautin, as he’s been prolific over the years playing in the band Richmond Fontaine and The Delines, while penning acclaimed novels.
“The Sea Drift” has the sound – and the smell and taste – of an ocean coast, particularly influenced by the Gulf Coast and artists such as Tony Joe White (“Polk Salad Annie”, “Rainy Night in Georgia”).
Recent single, ‘Surfers In Twilight’ leaves Boone somewhat mesmerized by emotive singing about a wife watching her husband get arrested – and ‘in her heart she knows he’s done something’, it’s okay – while Vlautin touches the nylon guitar strings in a spaghetti western sound. It’s a wheelhouse song by nature, but his wheelhouse has changed after teaming up with Vlautin for the past eight years.
“It took me so long to calm down and breathe. I was jumping the gun,” Boone said of the song, a video of which can be seen on YouTube (along with “Drowning in Plain Sight”).
Believe her, other tracks are more upbeat, like “Kid Codeine,” she said, “that you’d want to hear in a club in Austin.”
But “most things are hard”. On “Saved From The Sea,” Boone sings about a person who “makes me feel like the world isn’t dying,” and it’s not as ugly and cruel as it sounds. Life is not wasted, the world does not sink. “I sing a line like that and it makes me cry,” Boone said.
That’s okay, because Boone really likes to sing Vlautin’s songs. “He’s just throwing out ideas, it’s kind of a concept album, he wants the record to sink,” she said. “We both have affinities” for the Gulf Coast/Tony Joe White call.
Vlautin is thrilled that Boone has overcome the trauma, and it shows in her voice.
“It’s the first time since Amy got injured that she felt strong and confident in the studio, and you can really hear that on this record,” he said. “There is strength in his voice, the strength of someone who has overcome a lot of trauma and pain.”
Of Vlautin’s comments, Boone remarked, “I’m a changed person because of it, but there’s a history with the band and a creative trust. We work well together. You only get trust when you put time into it. Eight years later, these guys are like family now.”
The Delines toured Europe in the spring, and after a local show at 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 30 at Mississippi Studios promoting “The Sea Drift,” they are heading back to Europe, including Italy.
“It’s fun coming out of isolation,” Boone said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions.
Boone’s history with The Delines actually dates back to Vlautin and his sister, Deborah Kelly (his partner in another band, The Damnations). Kelly was pregnant and could not accompany Richmond Fontaine to Europe; so, Boone went instead. The rest is history. The Delines are forming.
“He’s the reason I’m on The Delines,” Boone joked of his nephew.
For tickets to The Delines’ June 30 show, visit mississippistudios.com.
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