The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 21, 2013

Young 'jazz pop' artist performs at Tamarack

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — “‘It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing’ sums it up for me.”

Guests at Tamarack’s Sunday@Two were delighted with the soulful singing and powerful piano playing of contemporary jazz artist Amanda Bridgette.

A young but incredibly talented musician, Bridgette lives in Cross Lanes, but has been touring outside the country for the past few months.

After working in theater in New York for seven years, Bridgette decided to focus on her singing and songwriting career. She has been doing solo work for the last two and a half years and recorded her first record in Charleston at Mountain Stage.

She describes her style as “jazz pop” and thanks her grandfather for introducing her to jazz musicians at a young age, most notably Louis Armstrong.

Original jazz recordings she heard while doing theater also inspired her to pursue her music career.

Songwriting is her favorite aspect of being a musician because “it’s an expression of yourself.”

She is expanding her horizon, though, as she is working to incorporate other people’s stories into her lyrics.

“Something as simple as a phrase, from someone here or even from someone in another country, can give me inspiration.”

Her family is originally from Hinton, but Sunday marked her first performance in Beckley.

Before the show began, Bridgette said she was a bit nervous, but as soon as her fingers hit the piano keys, she was in the zone.

Kurt and Diann Reiber and Ann Schriver came to the Hulett C. Smith Theater just to hear some jazz music.

Although they hadn’t heard Bridgette play before, they were excited to hear something they might like.

Sure enough, as she played “He Treats Me Good,” toes were tapping and hands were clapping.

Bridgette made the audience feel at home, asking how everyone was doing on a Sunday afternoon, especially after Sunday dinner.

Although she’s been traveling outside the country for the past three months, Bridgette said she was glad to be back.

She continued to impress the audience with her songs about life and love with her spin on “’70s Easy Listening.”

For a full biography, upcoming shows, and a taste of her musical talent, visit www.amanda bridgette.com.

Next week’s Sunday@Two will feature Travis Cutshaw.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com