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Short & Sweet | Love and Other Words

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Folk: Modern Folk Folk: Folk Pop Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Love and Other Words

by Short & Sweet

Robyn Landis & Steve Amsden form an acoustic duo whose award-winning songwriting infuses intelligent lyrics with sparkling guitar and expressive vocals. Literate, melodic contemporary folk with depth, honesty, satisfying musical and emotional range.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Winter Blues
2:43 album only
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2. In Your Arms
4:37 album only
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3. While Trees Fall
4:49 album only
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4. Say Goodbye
3:17 album only
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5. Cutthroat
3:20 album only
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6. When I Get There
5:34 album only
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7. That Was Then
4:12 album only
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8. Calico Creek
5:03 album only
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9. I'm in Love
3:56 album only
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10. Glad to Hear the Rain
5:54 album only
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11. My Amazing Grace
3:14 album only
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12. Closing Time
4:32 album only
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13. Kiss/met
2:41 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
OVER THIRTY SONGWRITING AWARDS AND HONORS IN THE FIRST 3 YEARS...

"What a wonderful album! The duo of Robyn Landis and Steve Amsden (Short and Sweet) are great together – her smooth vocals, like an earthy Laurie Lewis, are a nice complement to his rich tenor. Landis has won a lot of songwriting awards, and it’s easy to see why. She’s great at taking a moment in time and using it to convey an emotion so strong that everyone listening will nod their heads...like a good short story...acoustic guitar, simple bass, violin and vocals wrap lovingly around the melody...fine acoustic guitar work by Amsden...“Calico Creek” is a wonderful love song and so is “My Amazing Grace"...the standout cut is “While Trees Fall,” a statement about our planet and what we’re doing to it...Amen, sister, amen."
~ Jamie Anderson - INDIE-MUSIC.com

"For those of us who've been already been enjoying Short and Sweet at festivals and concerts, here's what we've been waiting for: a beautiful collection of their original songs. The studio work is excellent, and at the same time, it sounds just like their live performances: their shiny-smooth vocal blend, emotional impact, and really cool instrumental arrangements. The songs cover a big range of feeling, from the inward and personal to the intense and outspoken political. Some songs are quite contemporary, and a few--like "Calico Creek"--sound like they could've been written one hundred years ago. What a treat it is to finally have them on CD."
- LINDA WATERFALL, songwriter, producer, composer, and acclaimed recording artist

"...an earthy, intelligent and deeply expressive message ...immediately transports you back to the time when folk songs and the stories that fueled them were the mainstream norm and kept groves of people packed in coffeehouses in complete silence listening to every word in the story...I often wish the people would create some sort of folk revival on a big scale--and if they did, you would hear Short & Sweet in the frontlines of it."
- Julian Skye, AlphaMusicGroup

"Amsden at the vocal wheels [sounds] a bit like a tenor Johnny Cash..reminding me of some of the better 70s folk artists...*While Trees Fall* is Landis' political ecological statement that comes off ten times better than some of the current attempts...subtle and indicting lyrics...James Taylor or lesser known guitarist Bob Bennett would be proud of the musicianship...unashamed love songs...the songs that we all wish to write to our better/other half...Somehow Landis and Amsden have done it and done it well...an overdue tribute to their engaging stage performance...the sound of a polished folk band that could and should make it big."
- Jake Nuckolls, Editor, CDReviews.com


* * * * * * *
AWARD-WINNING SONGWRITING

Robyn and Steve have won or placed in a staggering 30+ national and international songwriting competitions just since 2005, appearing at folk festivals across the country.

* Robyn was a top 6 finalist in the 2005 Suwannee Springfest Songwriting Competition for "While Trees Fall."
* Robyn was a top 10 finalist in the 2005 Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Contest for "Winter Blues" and "Say Goodbye" (the latter co-written with Steve).
*"Say Goodbye" also won an Honorable Mention in the 2005 Songprize.com International Songwriting Competition.
*"Say Goodbye" was a semi-finalist in the 2005 U.K. International Songwriting Competition.
* Robyn was one of 10 finalists in the 2005 Solarfest Songwriter's Showcase in Vermont (although could not attend due to previously scheduled shows).
*"Winter Blues" won an Honorable Mention in the 2005 Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition.
* Robyn was one of 10 finalists in the Tumbleweed Music Festival's Songwriting Contest with "When I Get There" in September 2005.
*"While Trees Fall" won in the acoustic category in the William Robert Abate Song Competition in September 2005. This contest, in conjunction with the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, awards songs that promote peace, love, community, and/or speak out against violence, war or hate, and only one winner is chosen in each category.
*"While Trees Fall" made the second round of finals in the 2005 International Songwriting Competition.
* Robyn won an honorable mention in the 2005 Billboard Song Contest for "When I Get There."
* Steve and Robyn won an honorable mention in the 2005 Billboard Song Contest for their co-written "Say Goodbye."
* Steve won an honorable mention in the 2005 Billboard Song Contest for "Closing Time."
* Steve was one of three finalists in the 2006 Susquehanna Folk Music Society Songwriting Contest.
* Steve won an honorable mention in the Peacedriven Songwriting Competition for "Cutthroat" in April 2006.
* Robyn was a top 40 Finalist in the Peacedriven Songwriting Competition for "While Trees Fall" in April 2006.
* "Say Goodbye" received honorable mention in the folk category of the 2006 West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest.
* Robyn was one of 10 finalists in the 2006 Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Contest in May 2006.
* Robyn was one of 10 finalists in the 2006 KRCL/Founder's Title Folk & Bluegrass Festival Songwriter's Showcase in July 2006.
* Robyn was an alternate finalist in the 2006 Solarfest Songwriter's Showcase in July 2006.
* Robyn won FIRST PLACE (for "Glad to Hear The Rain") *and* an honorable mention (for "I'm In Love") in the 2006 Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Songwriting Competition in July 2006.
* Robyn won SECOND PLACE (with "While Trees Fall") in the Acoustic/Folk Category of the 2005 Unisong Songwriting Competition in July 2006. "While Trees Fall" also was a Top 20 winner in the contest's Social/Political category; she was a Top 20 Winner in the contest's Lyrics category for an as-yet unrecorded song; and the co-written "Say Goodbye" received an honorable mention in the Acoustic/Folk category. Steve's "Comes A Flood" won honorable mention in Unisong's AAA/Americana category.
* Robyn was a finalist in the 3rd Annual Williamsburg Live (Brooklyn, New York) Songwriting Competition with "While Trees Fall" in September 2006.
* Robyn won an honorable mention in Nashville's River Bluff Music Festival for "While Trees Fall" in September 2006.
* Robyn & Steve won first place in the 2006 International Narrative Song Competition for "Say Goodbye," announced January 2007.
* Robyn won an honorable mention in the 2006 International Narrative Song Competition for "I'm In Love."
* Robyn won an honorable mention in the 2007 Singer-Songwriter Awards for "I'm In Love."
* Steve won an honorable mention in the 2007 West Coast International Songwriting Competition for "Comes A Flood."
* Robyn won an honorable mention in the 2007 West Coast International Songwriting Competition for "Winter Blues."
* Robyn was a finalist in the 2007 Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Contest in May 2007.
* Robyn was a finalist in the 2006 KRCL/Founder's Title Folk & Bluegrass Festival Performing Songwriter's Showcase in July 2007.
* Robyn was a finalist in the 2007 Solarfest Performing Songwriter's Showcase in July 2007.
* Robyn was a Top 20 Winner in the Lyrics Category of the Unisong International Songwriting Competition in July 2007.
* Robyn was an Alternate Finalist in the Tumbleweed Music Festival songwriting contest coming in September 2007.
* "While Trees Fall" was named one of the Top 25 MP3s of the year in December 2007.
* "You Don't Know A Thing" (new song, coming on Robyn's solo release) won honorable mention in the 2008 International Narrative Songwriting Competition.
* "Jamison Brown" and "Hey Dog" (two co-writes coming on Robyn's solo release) won honorable mention in the 2008 Telluride Troubadors Contest (Telluride Folk & Bluegrass Festival).


* * * * * * *
This exceptional debut release by Northwest-based acoustic duo Short & Sweet introduces a gifted pair of singer-songwriters to the indie folk/acoustic/Americana scene. Thirteen original songs (some penned by lead guitarist Steve Amsden, others by rhythm guitarist Robyn Landis, some co-written) manage to gracefully and effortlessly traverse a diverse musical landscape stretching gently toward the borders of rock/pop, country/bluegrass and even jazz/torch while holding on to its clean contemporary folk thread.

Consistently intelligent, literate, sometimes cunning lyrics--ranging from matters of heart and soul to those of church, state, and world--are framed by confident, heartfelt, yet understated vocals and ambient, sparkling guitars. Amsden delivers a passionate Springsteenesque baritone; Landis's clear, intimate and wistful soprano reveals husky depths and shadows, and offers an occasional surprise bite. Harmonies serve up a pleasing blend that's sweet indeed.

With emotional resonance, character and honesty, the partners cover ground from love's first blush to its impending demise, from political to personal hubris--not too literal, but rendered with dexterity in thoughtful, articulate verse.

While relatively spare in instrumentation, the music is strikingly textured with the brilliant, breathtaking fiddle work of virtuoso Paul Elliott. Bassist Cary Black (formerly of the Kingston Trio and other great bands) raises the bar with exceedingly solid backbone on every song. Steel guitar by Dan Tyack--sometimes high and lonesome, sometimes rocking David Lindley-esque--rounds out the impressive musicianship represented here.

Amsden's lead playing reflects a gift for creating signature hooks which, coupled with both writers' ability to craft appealing and accessible melodies, gives each song a quick and lasting imprint.

From the riveting, muted fury of the eco-political indictment "While Trees Fall" to the quiet, haunting resignation of "Say Goodbye"; from the yearning called forth by the richly-imaged, mesmeric and meditative "In Your Arms" to the restrained menace in the chillingly prophetic "Cutthroat"; from the impish hint of lounge lizardry in the clever, tautly wordsmithed "Closing Time" to the tender nostalgia of "Calico Creek"; and from the bittersweet stirring of awakening evoked by the roadsong-worthy "When I Get There" to the buoyant, unabashedly sticky "Kiss/Met" (a bright popsicle of a song telling the couple's own story in three head-bobbing verses)--and more--each of these 13 tunes is distinctive, honest and engaging.

Since the CD's release, a mere five of Robyn's songs have generated 27 national and international honors and awards. Landis, a professional writer all her life, has turned her deft and powerful command of language toward songcraft, and has already garnered comparisons to Richard Shindell and Dar Williams.

While the duo have been performing together for years--and Amsden was a Nashville regular before taking a decade off to singlehandedly raise his three children--this is their first full-length CD release (self-produced on the artists' own label, Take One Again Music). Enigmatically (or perhaps randomly) named--they're of identical height, and not all the songs are especially short nor purely sweet--this is a talented pair of musicians, offering a formidable recording debut sure to satisfy fans of the genre. You'll want to hear more from these two--and you will.


*FULL REVIEW: CDReviews.com*
Island life is much different than life on the mainland. Things are slower and more peaceful. The wandering explorer finds many more empty barns and overgrown cottages to explore. Being surrounded by water forces the visitor to realize that any appointments on the mainland are going to have to wait for the ferry. People often are different. This is the kind of atmosphere that is evoked when listening to Short and Sweet, a folk band from Vashon Island in Washington State.

Composed of two musicians, Robyn Landis and Steve Amsden, Short and Sweet have been around for several years and yet this is their first official release. Amsden, already an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, teamed up with Landis in 2001 under the moniker Short and Sweet. Landis, when not playing music, is also an established author. Within the last year she has participated and competed in a variety of songwriting competitions and won first prize at the William Robert Abate Songwriting Competition for her song "While Trees Fall." Love and Other Words is the logical extension of both musicians' talent.

Beginning with "Winter Blues," Landis and Amsden evoke the image of a cold bleak landscape that extends into the dark where the sun refuses to shine. "In Your Arms" gives us Amsden at the vocal wheels sounding a bit like a tenor Johnny Cash and reminding me of some of the better 70s folk artists. "While Trees Fall" is Landis' political ecological statement that comes off ten times better than some of the current attempts. Subtle and indicting lyrics like, "They never touch the earth or they might feel its pain. If they could calculate its worth they'd sell the rain," give us a picture of an epic villain that we find out we live around constantly. "Say Goodbye" is a lullaby wrapped in the biting words of the one leaving in the dark while the other is sleeping. "When you catch on I could be long gone. Say goodbye." James Taylor or lesser known guitarist Bob Bennett would be proud of the musicianship on "Cutthroat," which, along with "That Was Then," blends the delicacy of the vocals with the restrained anger in a way that is believable but stunning.

Lighter moments on Love and Other Words are abundant. "When I Get There" is as much a traveling song as it is one of coming of age. "I'll be there first in my dreams. I won't be home until I know where these roads all lead, but I'll be there when I get there." The gentle "Calico Creek" tells the story of two lovers who met, fell in love and grew together beneath a willow tree next to Calico Creek. The unashamed love songs "I'm In Love" and "Kiss/Met" are sappy, yes, but as much as they are sappy, they represent the songs that we all wish to write to our better/other half. Putting words to all of those emotions when in love is hard enough, but trying not to sound "movie-quotish?" Near to impossible. Somehow Landis and Amsden have done it and done it well (all the while retaining the silly things we say when in love).

Love and Other Words is not a first effort for Landis and Amsden. To fans, it is an overdue tribute to their engaging stage performance. To outsiders, it is the sound of a polished folk band that could and should make it big. There is a huge market out there for bluegrass and folk right now, and with the right push, Short and Sweet could gain a greater audience.
JAKE NUCKOLLS, Editor
CDREVIEWS.com

*FULL REVIEW: INDIE-MUSIC.com*
What a wonderful album! The duo of Robyn Landis and Steve Amsden (Short and Sweet) are great together – her smooth vocals, like an earthy Laurie Lewis, are a nice compliment to his rich tenor. Throw in some fine acoustic guitar work by Amsden, right-on bass from the fabulous Cary Black, lively fiddle from Paul Elliot and more, and you’ve got a relax-in-your-chair big ol’ dose of straight-ahead folk.

Landis has won a lot of songwriting awards, and it’s easy to see why. She’s great at taking a moment in time and using it to convey an emotion so strong that everyone listening will nod their heads, remembering a time in their own lives when they felt the same. Her promo material says she’s been compared to Dar Williams, but I don’t see that in her writing. Dar’s writing is more philosophical, and while there’s a hint of that in Robyn’s work, her writing is more descriptive, like a good short story. Steve’s work isn’t as wordy, often evoking images that leaves the listener to fill in the blanks.

“Winter Blues” opens the disc, a leaping fiddle leading the way, the upbeat arrangement a contrast to the melancholy lyrics. “In Your Arms” has some great images to show a longing for someone special:

High mountain desert
old bent pine tree
parched cries for water
the sun sets endlessly ...

There’s an ache in Robyn’s voice in “Say Goodbye” that would tell you the story even if you weren’t listening closely to the words (but you should). An acoustic guitar, simple bass, violin and vocals wrap lovingly around the melody. Beautiful.

“Calico Creek” is a wonderful love song and so is “My Amazing Grace": “She was meant to be an angel, she's my amazing grace.” Now that’s a song you want sung to you on a warm summer evening filled with stars. There’s a cool swing feel to “Closing Time” and appropriately, it comes near the end of the disc.

The standout cut is “While Trees Fall,” a statement about our planet and what we’re doing to it. She implores:

They want to get into heaven through the eye of a needle
Let me in before the ones in suits can even try
Can I be an angel so I can ask some questions
before I let ‘em by ...

Amen, sister, amen.

~ Jamie Anderson - INDIE-MUSIC.com (Dec 2, 2007)


*FULL REVIEW: Alpha Music Group*
Short & Sweet, an acoustic folk duo comprised of Steve Amsden and Robyn Landis, brings an earthy, intelligent and deeply expressive message to their songs. Individually they both have been singing, playing guitar and writing for over 30 years and have been recognized in numerous, prestigious folk songwriting contests. Their song "While Trees Fall" immediately transports you back to the time when folk songs and the stories that fueled them were the mainstream norm and kept groves of people packed in coffeehouses in complete silence listening to every word in the story, so as to not miss any profound insights or endearing thoughts. I often wish the people would create some sort of folk revival on a big scale--and if they did, you would hear Short & Sweet in the frontlines of it.

The opening line of "While Trees Fall"-- "How we treat the least of us reveals the beast in us"-- Hello? It hits you over the head and sends your brain swirling and waiting on the next lyric. It gives you chills. "While Trees Fall" is a song about how we treat our people and our world, and it is also a song that delivers a message of hope and ultimately of justice for those in power who carelessly destroy. Itís a philosophical attack on corporate America and its use of media manipulation, lies, and pursuit of financial gain at all costs that leave the trees (that would be you and me and the planet) in the wilderness stripped bare, withered and ready to fall to the barren wasteland. I personally like the strong message in the song and their belief that things can change.
JULIAN SKYE
AlphaMusicGroup
www.alphamusicgroup.com

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Reviews


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Toni Eaton

Absolutely fabulous, wonderful CD!
Your new CD is GREAT! I have listened to it so much in the last few days that I find myself humming the tunes and I know the words to each and every song. The contributing musicians do such a wonderful job and I'm always impressed by the professional sound of your sweet voice. I am sure this will be the start of something really big for the two of you.
Sincerely, a long time fan
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john perrone

new music for me to enjoy
never thought this was my type of music but it keeps me awake at night...humming as i sleep
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Brad Parrott

Great lyrics, pure and simply beautiful vocals, very clean guitar work
Easy listening and very well put together. My favorite song is Say Goodbye. What a great theme, the lyrics and poetry are fabulous, great guitar work and the violin pieces and fill-ins add so much, and Robyn's voice...such a beautiful, pure tone. The other two songs that stand out for me, for the same reasons, are Glad To Hear The Rain and Winter Blues.
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martin weisen

more impressive in that they wrote the music and lyrics
Robyn Landis and Steve Amsden have put together a CD that showcases their
talents as both songwriters and performers. The songs are terrific, one
after another, and their delivery is nothing short of perfection.
Individually and together, this pair makes great music! Their flair for
songwriting coupled with their beautiful voices and guitar playing are a
sure recipe for success. I see great things ahead for this dynamic duo.
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Laura Hendrix

When everyone has a different favorite song; you know it is good!
I have had these guys play several times in the Vashon Park District concert series. They pack the crowd and astonish folks with their talent. Owning the cd is a constant reminder of good people, good music and little tales of truth. When everyone at the concert has a different favorite song on the CD; you know it is good!
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Laurie Barker James

"Sweet" music...no ferry needed
It's nice to be able to listen to Short and Sweet without having to take a ferry. Don't get me wrong, hitching the Vashon Ferry was a fun part of the adventure. Steve and Robyn have presented these songs in various forms at different locations, and it's about damn time they put them on CD. Eco-hippie, maybe. Righteously indignant, occasionally. Their voices merge beautifully and the songs are enlivened with additional instrumentation (a pretty fiddle and some additional guitar work). Short and Sweet is worth the trip from anywhere. As my four-year old daughter Kaylie says, "Let's go on the ferry to see the pretty lady (that's Robyn)at the dance!"
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The Gross Shader Family, Vashon WA

Always loaded in our CD player--favorite CD of 2005!
This is our family's favorite CD of 2005! We have had the pleasure of listening to this duo live on Vashon Island for years, and we are delighted to enjoy their music at home any time we feel like it. Our kids' favorite song is the frolicking I'm in Love which showcases the duo's beautiful harmonies. My husband and I like Amsden's rock-solid That Was Then, and Landis' politically astute While Trees Fall. Calico Creek and My Amazing Grace are favorites with the grandparents (who are also the happy owners of this CD!). This CD is a crowd-pleaser, and it makes a great gift!
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ASP

Great music for hanging out with friends or relaxing with coffee on a Sunday mor
I have not ever written a review before. The music on this CD is outstanding. I've become addicted to it, as I listen when hanging out with people and on Sunday mornings while relaxing with coffee. This CD reminds me of so many great singer / songwriters and folk musicians, yet they have their own style. I would say perhaps Alison Krauss or Adrienne Young. If you enjoy solid folk music with rich lyrics, you must get this CD. It's awesome!
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Stephanie Caragliano

A great acoustic album...
I've spent my evening alone listening to your CD, and I just wanted to let you know how touched and moved I was by it. Your music speaks to its listeners. The harmonies delivered by your instruments, whether they be your voices or your guitars, blend together to create beautiful portraits of love (in all senses of the word). The lyrics are so intimate, and I found myself feeling that I could relate to the situations that you sang about. This record feels theraputic and comforting to listen to. Both of you are very talented singer-songerwriters, and I look forward to hearing more in the future.
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