Amy Black (from the album Memphis)
While heading back into a personal past, Amy Black discovered a musical legacy of the South while recording her previous release, Muscle Shoals Sessions, that helped her find a voice to make yesterday sound current. With her recent album, Amy Black traveled west on the Music Highway, traveling I-40 between her Nashville home through Tennessee over to Memphis. True to the traditions that were the muse for the music, Memphis was recorded in analog with Scott Bomar (The Bo-Keys) as producer. Settling into Bomar’s Electraphonic Recording studios, Amy was backed by a band that included players who performed with The Bo-Keys, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood as well as members of Bobby ‘Blue” Bland’s band and Stax and Hi-Records alumni. For Amy Black, the sessions that gave birth to Memphis created a space where her love of the music and her career could co-exist. Amy felt that ‘I love the music of Memphis; everything that came out of there in the 50’s, the 60’s, and the 70’s….I love the grit and the guts and the soul and the groove. And getting to record with some of the guys that made that music was amazing’.
The sound of Memphis plays out the love of Soul music and its history in every note. Gospel chords roll underneath Amy Black as she takes “Let the Light In’ to church, singing of hard times as she offers a way to be soothed and settled. Memphis tributes Soul writers Otis Clay, Ruby Johnson, and Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland on the album, putting tracks from the city’s history alongside cuts written by Amy Black. A co-write with fellow Nashville neighbor Karen Leipzeiger offers a tribute to Ann Peebles with “What Makes a Man?” as Amy turns sad to happy in “The Blackest Cloud”, embraces the joy in a relationship with “We Got a Good Thing”, and quietly walks through the nightmares of war alongside a young soldier in “Nineteen”. Memphis opens on a blast of Soul as it advises that “It’s Hard to Love an Angry Man”, and sinks deeply into loss on “Without You” as Amy Black see Soul through a Blues haze admitting “I Need Your Love So Bad”.