For her fourth release, Amber Sweeney teamed up with producer Geoff Ott and took full advantage of his vaunted London Bridge Studios to bring a high level of sophisticated production to a stellar seven-song collection titled ‘Believing In Love.’
Sweeney, a native of Battle Ground, Washington sports a powerful alto along with skillful guitar playing and songwriting. She and Ott drew on the finest players in the Northwest to flesh out her songs of hopeless and hopeful love. The rhythm section of Ben Jones (bass) and Brian Foxworth (drums) lay the foundation of tasty soul, funk and hip hop influenced grooves, dishing out the right amount of flash to make the tunes pop without over powering the vocal.
Opening title track centers around a slinky piano vamp from Josh Rawlings that sets up Sweeney’s pleading vocal on a classic R&B ballad akin to Luther Vandross. She digs deep into the velvet of funky soul blues on “Restless,” delivering her own wah wah guitar. Party anthem “The Great Northwest,” name checks the sights and sounds of the region by shifting grooves, mixing elements of roots rock and hip hop, featuring guest spots from rapper Michael Wanz, hot horn blasts and soaring real strings from Andrew Joslyn. Sweeney displays her vocal power on the dramatic ending of “Rivers Edge,” after recounting her tale of fatherly advice. The smooth neo-soul groove of ‘Claustrophobic,” sets up a song of self-empowerment and that hopeful love. Themes of romance continue for the easy rocking on “Goodnight.” The Battle Ground High School vocal jazz ensemble joins Sweeny on “You Will Be Done,” a fabulously orchestrated finale that builds from her solo acoustic and vocal singing about following her dreams and builds to a full gospel prayer.