Americana Artist Amy Black Celebrates Her Roots with New Music
by Holley Dey ©2014 On Tap Blog All rights reserved
At her February release show for sophomore album This Is Home, Amy Black fronted a band that included Spooner Oldham and David Hood.
This is the same Spooner Oldham who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, the same musician who supported Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, and Percy Sledge on piano and organ. This is the same Spooner Oldham who recorded instrumentals on “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and who wrote Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman.” Bass player David Hood was a member of the famed rhythm section that recorded first at FAME, and then at his own Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in the late 1960s. He played bass or trombone on several early hits, including Percy Sledge’s “Warm and Tender Love,” Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man,” and Etta James’ “Tell Mama.” Both Hood and Oldham are members of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
Amy Black’s Alabama roots also run deep. Now Boston based, she grew up in Missouri and Alabama, attending high school in Birmingham. Both sets of grandparents hail from The Shoals. In addition to her new full-length CD, Amy recalls her Muscle Shoals roots with recent four song EP The Muscle Shoals Session, recorded last summer with Spooner Oldham at FAME studio. “I’d driven past FAME my whole life, but had no idea that Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and many others had recorded within those walls,” says Amy. Included on the EP are covers of songs previously recorded in Muscle Shoals by Wilson Pickett, Arthur Alexander, Tim and Mel and The Black Keys. Track “You Left the Water Running” is a standout, featuring Amy’s warm vibrato and keen sense of rhythm.
Her southern heritage is clear on new album This Is Home as well. Track “Alabama” was written with memories of her grandfather who called Waterloo, Alabama home, and never strayed far from The Shoals. “I’m Home” describes the warm feeling associated with returning to the place and people we each call home, the same feeling that moves Amy in Muscle Shoals. The official music video for “I’m Home” confirms Amy’s rock solid bond with home and family; her husband, parents and sister are featured. The only actor is the dog!
While her sophomore album was recorded in Nashville, Amy went home to celebrate the release of the disc. It was standing room only at The Mayfair in Tuscumbia, Alabama for the February show. In addition to Oldham on keys and David Hood on bass, she was backed by Kelvin Holly on guitar and Mike Dillon on percussion. Originally from Alabama, Holly is the longtime guitarist for artists including Little Richard, The Amazing Rhythm Aces, The Decoys and Pegi Young and The Survivors. Mike Dillon has a long list of credits as well, having played with Les Claypool, Ani DiFranco, Galactic, Marco Benevento, among many others.
Amy’s joy at sharing her new music with an appreciative hometown crowd is clear in the following recently released videos from the event. The first two songs. “I’m Home” and “Cat’s in the Kitchen” are Amy Black originals from This Is Home. The third. “Bring It on Home to Me”, is a Sam Cooke cover that features a deliciously simple introduction that serves to showcase Amy’s soulful voice nicely.