Oregonian - November 2002

Mark Woodlief
Amelia's opposites attract musically
"Talk about yin and yang.
Scott Weddle, guitarist for Portland quartet Amelia, is low-key and a little shy, a twang-pop songwriter with a flair for yearning melancholia. The group's sultry vocalist, Teisha Helgerson, is a self-described "lifelong ham" who once performed spontaneous lunchtime concerts with a first-grade classmate at a West Linn school. Weddle was the rhythm guitarist with twangy Portland combo the Flatirons. Helgerson also fronts the sunny-sounding outfit Say Uncle, a project formed with two of her uncles and three friends. He's a little bit country; she's a little bit rock and soul. Together, they complement one another almost perfectly as the nucleus of Amelia."

"On the group's debut, "Somewhere Left to Fall," tremolo guitars, hushed rhythms, keyboard shadings and subdued samples provide atmospheric soundscapes. A natural, easygoing musical rapport exists between Weddle and former Flatirons members Richard Cuellar (drums) and Jesse Emerson (bass). Helgerson's voice haunts with tales of loneliness, betrayal and breakups. "A patient impostor who's skilled in the art/can make off with an unsuspecting heart," Helgerson sings on "Make Believer." On "Come Clean," a sample of Indian tambura adds eerie, shimmering texture to the tune's foundations. Weddle and Helgerson met in the summer of 2000, just as the Flatirons was coming to an end. Although he'd been writing some of his own songs, Weddle grew more confident and excited about songwriting after a stint playing lead guitar with Warren Pash's band. Still, Weddle didn't want to step out front with a new group. "I don't have the sort of voice that should be fronting a band," he says. "I like the way my songs sound when they're sung by somebody that really can sing great." After meeting Helgerson and hearing her sing with Say Uncle, Weddle was convinced they should form a band. As the collaboration took root, the two agree, they learned from and challenged one another. "When I first started talking to her about singing with me and forming a band," Weddle says, "I didn't really even have a bunch of songs yet, just parts of songs and ideas. She was really patient and really understanding."

"And Helgerson appreciated Weddle's patience when it came time to record "Somewhere Left to Fall" at Mike Coykendall's Blue Room Studios. Inexperienced in the studio, Helgerson says she was able to overcome "red light fever" with a little time. "(Weddle and Coykendall) were really cool about it," Helgerson says. "It's complicated trying to understand how to communicate to the tape (vs. a live audience)." All that patience, and practice, paid off. "It was a long process," says Helgerson, who describes herself as a long-term thinker, setting the goal of becoming "a good jazz singer in 30 years." Meanwhile, Amelia has created a solid debut, and the group has grown during the process."

"I think we made a record that 'music snobs' will appreciate," Weddle says, "but that regular music fans will dig, too." Striking a balance with their first CD? What a harmonious accomplishment."