Willamette Week - November 2002

Becky Ohlsen
Amelia: Caliente
"Buttery Latin-country-soul, served warm.
No, the woman you see on stage is not Amelia.
That would be Teisha Helgerson, and the word you're looking for is probably "sultry."

"Helgerson fronts the band Amelia, with Scott Weddle on guitar, Jesse Emerson on bass and Richard Cuellar on drums. The up-and-coming local outfit plays a simmering blend of melancholy pop, timeless country, Latin and soul, calling to mind hot moonlit nights in tequila-basted border towns or cool dames slinking through black-velvet nightclubs. "Picking a band name almost killed us," says Weddle. "All of our friends were trying to help, which backfired because somebody would always hate the names we picked. We settled on Amelia because we thought it worked with our Spanish/Latin tastes and with the old-fashioned, antique thing we like."

"Recorded at Mike Coykendall's Blue Rooms studio in Southeast Portland, Amelia's new album, Somewhere Left to Fall, has the burnished feel of a record that exists outside of time and trends. Though songs smolder more intensely in a live setting, the record shows off the subtleties of Weddle's songwriting and guitarwork and the richness of Helgerson's vocals. A fan of Coykendall's band the Old Joe Clarks, Weddle tracked him down after hearing he'd moved to Portland from San Francisco. "I heard his band before I ever met him and loved the music," Weddle says. The two shared a record label, Checkered Past, from back when Weddle played guitar for the Flatirons. "When I found out he had a studio, and heard how good Fernando's last record he recorded there sounded, I asked him if he would work with us." Coykendall plays on most of the tracks and lends eerie harmony vocals to one, "Come Clean." He and Weddle co-produced the record. "I have great faith in Mike's musical intuition," Weddle says. "He kept us all calm and centered and seemed to have endless patience with the process."