home / interviews
Charlotte Observer (US)
Friday, February 21, 2003
Scarlet's Walk Leads to NC
Tori Amos, born in Newton, revisits the South in new album.
by Jamie Sheats-Johnson
Tori Amos is known for her eccentricities and breathy rants over her Bosendorfer piano. "Scarlet's Walk" is the singer/songwriter's latest album, and it's a road trip reminiscent of her current concert tour, which hits Ovens Auditorium Tuesday.
Accompanied by Jon Evans on bass and Matt Chamberlain on drums, Amos weaves tapestries of new and old songs into what she calls "a different fairy tale every night."
Born in Newton but raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Amos has fond memories of visiting her grandparents in North Carolina.
"There are places that are sort of like Polaroids that flash in your mind. I remember taking trips to Charlotte in 1968," she recalls. "We would stop along the way at little cafes that were open then that aren't open now. Sometimes you know the soul of a place, not the newer buildings."
North Carolina is at the core of the concept of Amos' new album. "The song 'Scarlet's Walk' goes through South Carolina, Georgia, and into North Carolina, and it's really the Trail of Tears story mixed with Scarlett O'Hara," she explains. The album was inspired by the oral tradition of passing down the Native American story, she says, and "integrating that with the story of the Europeans, because she (Scarlet) is made of both and so is the land."
In a recent phone interview from Florida, Amos talked about her new album, new daughter, and new tour.
There's been a change in your lyrics from the raw emotions of "Little Earthquakes" that's different from the concepts of your last two albums. Do you still place yourself within the song or are you moving toward more universal territory?
When you're listening, you either feel something or you don't. No matter how I shroud it or not, I don't think that's the point. You get your diary once. That's the way I see it, or you're rehashing old material.
You don't banter with the audience as much as you used to. Is there are a reason for that?
I think that sometimes I feel like having a chat and sometimes it can take away (from the songs). Sometimes I feel like I get into a trance now and I'm more comfortable with just letting the songs speak.
Have you noticed a couple that's been together for a while? Sometimes I watch them having coffee together and they might smile at each other, but they might be lost in their reverie and they don't talk.
Congratulations on your daughter - she's 2 now. Do you think you'll teach her to sing and play the piano like you did at 2?
Thank you. She's 2 1/2. She's teaching herself. She sings a lot. She doesn't play the piano yet. She goes and visits it but she visits the drums and she visits the guitar. She's not tied into an instrument yet, but she sings almost everything like she's part of an opera or something.
Do you think America is healing from the tragedies of Sept. 11? (Amos was in New York City on 9/11, and wrote much of "Scarlet's Walk" in response to that experience.)
The question is: Are leaders using the tragedy to stir people up, to push that button to go to war? I think that's the concern of anybody who's looking outside in. Anytime anybody's so keen to go to war, it's always a red light for me, because I'm a person that doesn't choose violence as my first, second, or the third way out of anything.
East Independence Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28210
02/25/2003 7:30 p.m
$35, call 704-522-6500 for tickets and details.
t o r i p h o r i a
the World of Tori Amos