Singer Amanda West is hiding out. Sort of. Having just returned from the Folk Alliance convention, the songstress (and producer of August’s WomanSong all-female concert in Big Sur) is busy off stage compiling the 12 tracks to her sophomore release. “I’ve actually been trying not to book shows because I’m working on a new album,” she says, making this week’s Cayuga Vault show on Saturday, Dec. 5 (alongside world-folk duo HuDost) all the more tantalizing for fans of her deeply cathartic folk. A special winter show, the concert will likely be her last for a while as she heads into the studio to lay down a record she describes as happier than 2008’s The Way to the Water. It will reflect what she says are her more recent experiences “connecting with the Universe and finding confidence.” “The images around the new CD are persimmon fruits,” she reveals. “It’s related to one of the songs on the album that’s become a symbol of inner knowing, strength and self empowerment.” Inspired by the vocals of Sarah McLachlan and the songwriting of Alanis Morissette, West is in the league of performers who eschew grandiose arrangements for the potency of an intimate show built on poignant lyrics and stirring vocal dynamics. “I think an audience can access a solo artist in a way that they can’t with a band,” she maintains. Though she’ll find accompaniment in Pete Solomon on percussion and saxophone this week, the singer is known to move listeners with her acoustic guitar and her private ruminations on songs like “It Will Be” and “Illuminate My Soul.” Her heart-rending verses reflect her own revelations and sense of growth, and West mines specific experiences in hopes that they’ll ultimately shed light on the common roads we all walk. “We all feel like we’re really different, alone and isolated,” she begins, “and music is a way to connect with people. If I get close to the core of my truth, they will be the same for everyone else. As humans, we’re all very much more similar than we think.”
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. Cayuga Vault, 1100 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 421-9471.
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