By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – The Amber is a rock band, but sometimes it’s more like improv rock.
The Tupelo duo writes catchy rock ’n’ roll songs, but otherwise, the band goes with the flow – whether it’s changing genres from album to album or making the best out of broken equipment.
“We are a bit of an underdog,” said Ash Williams, the band’s vocalist and guitar player. “Our amps have died. Her hi-hat stands broke. Every time we fix one thing, two things break.”
That doesn’t slow them down at all. When something breaks, the band plays on.
The Amber is Williams, 25, and his wife, Sabrina Hawkins, 28.
The pair have been together for four years, been a band for two years, and husband-and-wife for just over a year.
They also work at the same company, Bauhaus, together.
They’re a good pair, so they work together well whether they’re working on songs or fixing up their new house.
“I practice when I feel like it,” Hawkins said, laughing.
“Sometimes I’ll say, ‘We’re practicing tonight,’ but then I’ll wanna go play video games,” Williams said.
“And I’m like, yeah, go play video games,” Hawkins said.
In 2013, The Amber released its debut album, “The Night is Good Phoenix Brother” – named after Williams misheard Hawkins’ claim that Joaquin Phoenix is the “not as good Phoenix brother.”
The group blended punk, garage and bluesy rock into a solid sound for that album.
Next week, the band will release a new EP, “Heartland Rock,” and Williams was heavily influenced by Bruce Springsteen for this EP.
“There’s definitely still that edge to it; it’s still us,” he said.
Williams has recorded his own solo music and has written scores for locally made films, and those are more elaborate productions.
But The Amber keeps things simple by recording most songs in about 30 minutes with little overdubbing to keep the sound raw.
Williams and Hawkins don’t plan out their albums by genre. They just record the kind of music they’re into at the time.
It never fails, though, that the band is a little ahead of the curve, moving on from a genre just as it starts to get popular.
“I zig when I should’ve zagged,” Williams said. “Maybe when we stop doing garage rock it’ll be popular again.”
After “Heartland Rock” is released, The Amber will work on finding new equipment to replace anything broken, find gigs and, of course, continue to work on their new home. But no matter what comes their way, they’ll face it head on. It’s worked so far.
“I haven’t thought about tomorrow much,” Williams said. “I’ve got my head wrapped around today.”