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Angel of Death

Through tragedy and triumph, Bambi Lee Savage returns to Denver with new music and new hope.

"I got a call from Dan about two months after I finished those recordings, saying he was working on this underground, low-budget movie and that he and the director wanted to put my song 'Darlin'' in it," she says. That "underground, low-budget" project became the Oscar-winning 1996 smash Sling Blade. As great a boon as that was, though, Savage was unable to parlay it into a contract with Island Records, the label that released the Sling Bladesoundtrack. But with the self-release of Matter of Time, Savage hopes to vindicate herself -- or at least purge the demons of disappointment and doubt that have often eaten at the heart of her career.

"I had been through so much and didn't even have a CD to show for it," she says. "I had to get it done; then I could resume my life. I'd much rather be quietly fighting my battle, occasionally getting something out that somebody might hear and say, 'Oh, yeah, I can relate to that.' It's like fingernails down a blackboard to me if something sounds forced. I'm so sensitive to that in other stuff that that's the standard I hold up for myself. For the same reason, it's hard for me to push my own music. You have to be cutthroat; I'd rather be true to myself. That's so cliched, isn't it? But I want to be able to sleep at night."

Back in black: Bambi Lee Savage has stayed true to 
herself -- and her music.
Anthony Camera
Back in black: Bambi Lee Savage has stayed true to herself -- and her music.

Being true to oneself isn't just a bromide for Bambi Lee Savage; it trickles all the way down to her set list on stage. "'Dead and Gone' is not a song I would relish singing live," she says of the wine-soaked, suicidal knell that was born of her alliance with the Bad Seeds. "I haven't even been on a date in eight years, let alone a bad relationship, so I don't have those kinds of experiences anymore. But I do remember what it was like, and I don't really want to go back there."

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