Singer/songwriter Amelia White’s new album Home Sweet Hotel talks about the ups and downs of life on the road for a touring musician. But White, who was born in Arlington and lived there for 13 years during her childhood, will soon be returning to a place she calls home.
“I was born in Arlington, Virginia and my parents are native Virginians, so I love Virginia,” said White, who now lives in Nashville. “It’s my home. It’s sort of where it all started for me.”
White is coming back to Virginia for a performance at Jammin’ Java on Tuesday, March 15 to support her new album, which was released in early February. Although Home Sweet Hotel is actually leading her back to one of the places she grew up, White started writing the album in a Days Inn in Allentown, Pa.
“The album is about the double life that touring musicians lead,” White said. “We kind of have this life where we have to make the road your home and it’s a completely different life. And if you’re lucky you have a life at home.
“So it’s kind of like something the album explores in depth. It’s not a shallow picturing of it, but how that feels from the inside and then coming home to love.”
She gave an example of the ups and downs she’s experienced as a touring musician from one of the last times she was in Northern Virginia.
“It’s fresh in my mind. I was opening for Brandy Clark at The Birchmere,” White said. “And then the next night I was playing a really crappy house concert where there were like eight people and the hosts were asking me to help move the furniture and get ready for the show.
“I mean it always looks like you’re doing really well to other people, but honestly sometimes you’re duct taping the tire to the car. It’s a strange life. It’s strange and it can be really great. I don’t want to paint too bad of picture of it because obviously I love it.”
White said that, despite the less glamorous aspects of being a touring musician, she has to share the gift of music with people.
“The way I look at it is that it’s your duty to share it with people whether it’s ten people or 10,000,” White said. “That’s what you’re supposed to do, so just do it and shut up.”
The feedback that White has gotten for what she shared of her life on Home Sweet Hotel has been positive. Several publications in Europe and the United States have written great reviews of the album, her first since she released Old Postcard in 2014.
“I’m excited. I really feel like it’s probably my strongest album [in] a while,” White said. “Somebody mentioned that it tops my last strongest album, which was Black Dove in 2006, just as a whole piece of work. So I’m excited. It seems like people are digging it.”
According to White, the title track on the album was the one she started writing in the Days Inn in Pennsylvania and it’s pretty much a completely true account of what was going on that day, even down to the spicy chicken that’s mentioned on the song. She said that she was feeling kind of dark when she wrote that song.
“You know, it can be calling strange hotels your home for about a third or half of the year,” White said. “You get a strange disconnected feeling from life.
“And it’s interesting, you know the feeling you get when you’re flying on a plane – what are you and who are you? There’s a strange lack of identity that you feel, but definitely not when I’m on stage. That’s the one thing that keeps me solid.”
• For more information about Amelia White, visit ameliawhite.com.