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OneSheet_for Indelible


" Like other contemporary cabaret performers Amber Lee is fearless in her incorporation of folk music into her songwriting. It gives her music depth and a warm texture that goes beyond the performance gloss some current cabaretists rely solely on. But this interest in pre-modern music forms only hints at what makes Amber Lee interesting.

See, while Amber Lee wields an accordion she could just as well be rolling out her tunes from behind a piano keyboard. Eccentric choice in instrument and snazzy costume choices aside, Amber Lee is talented singer-songwriter. *That* is what makes her new CD, "Indelible", a recording that rewards repeated listens. "

-Jordan Bodewell, Sepiachord, April 2011



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"...cabaret like delicious sonic snail slime."

-Caroline Osborn, The Northbay Bohemian, July 2010


Serious Pinup

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" slowed down Decemberists songs were they wheezed from an accordion by a camp counselor gone cheerfully goth."

-J.K., The Bohemian


Red Dress

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Writer's Choice: Best Use of Dangerous Instruments

It's common knowledge: use an accordion, go to jail. Use an accordion and a banjo in the commission of a Depeche Mode cover, and you're going away for a long time, sweetheart. So far, Amber Lee and the Anomalies have evaded justice. The outlaw band is still hitting area pubs and cafes, sometimes crossing state lines. Authorities have identified Amber Lee Baker, a redheaded Caucasian female, as the button-woman and self-styled songstress. "Anomalies" was believed to be something of a red herring, that there was just one anomaly, a svelte banjo-plucking brunette swaying as if in a narcotic trance; recently, the gang added a wisecracking fiddle player with a penchant for violins.

Sometime-accomplices include a drummer and bassist, but there's no telling what's in the black instrument case. A composite sketch of their set list reveals a pattern of keening ballads about lonely whalers' wives, monsters and graveyards resembling slowed-down Decemberists songs were they wheezed from an accordion by a camp counselor gone cheerfully goth. Might be depressing, were it not for Amber Lee's bright, tune-carrying voice and singular wholesomeness. An employee at one of the affected venues claims that they drove her out of her mind; others report that the perps easily charmed them and then stole their hearts. When they break out an amusingly dirgey rendition of "Waiting for the Night to Fall" from Depeche Mode's Violater , few can resist handing over cash tips. Citizens, be vigilant.

Amber Lee and the Anomalies' CD release party is May 10 at the Toad in the Hole Pub, 116 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. 707.544.8623.—J.K.


Best of the North Bay Bohemian - March 19, 2008

by James Knight





Amber's Accordion - Singer-songwriter reinvents herself with the squeezebox

Five years ago, Amber Lee Baker picked up an accordion and decided to write songs with it, which makes about as much sense as finding some bamboo and twine and deciding to catch fish. I mean really - it's one of the bulkiest, clunkiest instruments in the world, not to mention all those hundreds of confusing buttons. Just looking at it is a task. But Baker has caught the proverbial fish, catching one after another, seeing her songwriting flourish since she switched from the piano. In a move to reinvente herself after a weekly residency of performing solo in an upscale restaurant, Baker rangled up a modest but tasteful backing band - Muir Houghton on upright bass and Karen Frindell on banjo - and wrote, wrote, wrote.

Canvasing Eastern-European folk music, sea-chanteys, and gypsy styles, Baker's songs seem to be inspired, at least in part, by a fantasy of her own design: midnight moons howl and gloat; vampires and hounds take to chasing wreckless souls; rodeo clowns haunt roadside bars. But at her best, Baker splashes in a reality of empty glasses and broken hearts. A newer song "Into Thin Air," captures the conflicting emotions of leaving a discontent lover with simple precision: "I went away to find my head," she sings, "When I came, back your eyes were dead." If she keeps at it for another five years, the girl is going to be a force to be reakoned with.

Amber Lee and the Anomalies perform this Friday, March 9th, at North Light Books and Cafe. 550 East Cotati Ave, Cotati. 7pm. Free. 707.792.4300.


North Bay Bohemian - March 7, 2007

by Gabe Meline