“Memphis” Now Available: Digital, CD and LP

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“Expertly crafted and passionately sung, Amy Black’s Memphis is worth visiting again and again.” – LIVING BLUES MAGAZINE

“The closer Amy Black gets to ‘home base,’ the better her music becomes. Memphis is for lovers of the old school, soul sound. It’s for a younger generation too, so they can hear for themselves, what all the hubbub has been about for 50+ years. Trust us when we say you want this one in your collection.” – AMERICAN BLUES SCENE

Black has thoroughly absorbed the Memphis sound, incorporating the chugging rhythm, spritely horns, and soulful beats. Meanwhile, her voice and method of interpretation echo the greats like Dusty Springfield, Mavis Staples, and Ann Peebles. And let’s not forget the huge importance of Memphis in the blues world as Black’s music bridges the worlds of blues and soul.” POP MATTERS

The record places Black in the mold of gritty soul-blues singers Ann Peebles and Shelby Lynne.” THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL (Memphis)

Recorded at Scott Bomar’s Electra-phonic Recording, the album earns its title with compositions perfectly suited to the Hi Rhythm Section sound… The horns on Memphis are pitch-perfect…he result is a classic Memphis soul stew.” —MEMPHIS FLYER

The closer Amy Black gets to “home base,” the better her music becomes. Memphis is for lovers of the old school, soul sound. It’s for a younger generation too, so they can hear for themselves, what all the hubbub has been about for 50+ years. Trust us when we say you want this one in your collection.” —AMERICAN BLUES SCENE
 
“She is now sold on her new sound, as well she should be, as it shows her to be a woman with real passions and depth of feeling. When you bump into her now here is the woman who always had been slightly out of kilter but full of potential, now she has discovered what the treasure is that is called love. Three Cheers for you Amy.” —NO DEPRESSION
 
On seven originals and three well-chosen covers, Black goes from silky smooth to raw and rough, balancing Saturday-night sultriness with Sunday-morning gospel.” —ELMORE
 
Amy Black has, indeed, delivered a Memphis-worthy album; obviously, a labor of love, which you can feel and hear.  And when it comes to Memphis soul, it’s what counts more than anything else.  So get online – go to a record store – and get a copy of this modern soul stomping classic.  Amy Black has got it going on – and she does Memphis proud…Highly recommended.” —POPDOSE

 

Amy Black’s New Album, MEMPHIS, Scheduled for a June 2, 2017 Release

Amy Black’s fourth solo release, “Memphis” was recorded in Memphis with grammy-nominated producer and leader of the band The Bo-Keys, Scott Bomar, at the helm. The powerful 10-song album features three members of the Hi Rhythm section who played on all Al Green classics — The Rev. Charles Hodges on the Hammond B and piano, his brother Leroy “Flick” Hodges on bass, and Howard Grimes on drums, along with former Stax guitarist Bobby Manuel – all architects of the Memphis sound.

Devising and creating the “Memphis” album was an obvious next step for Black, on the heels of her third release, “The Muscle Shoals Sessions.” This album was recorded in 2015 in her family’s homeland of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, at the historic FAME Studios, and featured legendary keyboardist and “Swamper” Spooner Oldham.

The album will be released on Friday, June 2, 2017 and will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Napster and amyblack.com 

The album can also be pre-ordered. Pre-orders will receive the album in advance of the official release date.

>> Pre-order here

New Memphis Album! Pre-Order Now to Support the Project.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-3-44-47-pmIt’s been an amazing couple of years. My last project, The Muscle Shoals Sessions, woke something up inside of me and had a huge influence on my direction as an artist.
After two years of touring the country and singing my heart out for you on stage, I’m ready to get back into the studio. This time, I’m heading to Memphis, Tennessee, to record an album of original retro soul and rock-n-roll music. I am very excited!
I have a grammy-nominated producer behind me and most of the players joining us are guys who backed Al Green and many Stax Records stars. We are recording in January 2017. It’s all lining up!
There is only one thing lacking – funding. Scary? Yes. But, I’ve stepped out on faith before with past projects and I know that with your help, I can get there!
I’ve got just 30 days to raise the funds for the album.
about the project, and if you are inclined to, choose from one of the many options available. All levels include an MP3 download of the album that you will receive before it is officially released. You get early access!
I am very lucky to make music for a living — and I’m even luckier to have you in my corner. I can’t do it without you.
 
Thank you in advance for your support!
With love & gratitude,
Amy
 
P.S. There are multiple levels to choose from, starting at $15 for the MP3 download. Check out the options here.

Closing Out 2015: The Year of Muscle Shoals

Muscle Shoals, Alabama, was always an important part of my life. Whenever I went to visit my grandparents in the adjacent town, Sheffield, we always drove to Muscle Shoals (it was 10 minutes away) to hit the local fast food joints and to do some shopping at Rogers department store. Both Walmart and Kmart were in Muscle Shoals. That says it all. On all of those drives we would pass the historic FAME Studios.

I didn’t know that FAME was an important place in music history until years later. And honestly, if someone had told me when I was 12 about the folks who recorded there, I probably wouldn’t have been that impressed. I had yet to be introduced to the fine music of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, etc. Little did I know that this studio and the music that was recorded there would become such an important part of my life all these years later.

I have a deep connection with Muscle Shoals because of the sweet memories I have of my grandparents that span 30 plus years. And now I have a new connection because of the music I’ve come to love.

2016 was truly the year of Muscle Shoals. I released a full-length album recorded at FAME with an amazing cast of players, including the legendary Spooner Oldham. The “Muscle Shoals Sessions” includes classic songs and some new ones I wrote just for this project. And then, this past summer, I took a Muscle Shoals Revue on the road, playing 50 shows across the country.

Touring extensively with a full band was a first for me. I held auditions for Berklee students in Boston to build the band. They would tour with me as a part of a paid internship that would give them great road and performance experience, playing excellent listening rooms in great cities across the U.S. While this project could have failed, it did not, and the fellas who toured with us were great guys and and players. We had a great summer together and several of them are touring with us again in 2016.

My husband Ryan, who learned to play the drums to support my music and to be a part of it, was our drummer for most of the summer and will return to the tour this year. I’m so proud of him and glad we can make music together.

My rock-n-rolling friend Sarah Borges joined us for a good number of the shows in 2015. It was a blast to have her along! She’s got a new album coming out this year and that will be her focus. Definitely check it out (it’s called Good and Dirty).

As I embark on 2016, it’s hard to believe that just over two years ago, I was working an office job four days a week and touring on the weekends. Two albums and two years of extensive touring later, that old life is solidly in the past. The path I’ve chosen isn’t easy and it doesn’t pay a third of the desk job, but I do love it and have no regrets!

I have Muscle Shoals to thank for an incredible 2015 and for what’s to come in 2016 and 2017. I’ll continue the Muscle Shoals tour this year, taking it back on the road this summer and then in early 2017, I plan to record my next album of originals (with the support of my fans), which will be greatly influenced and inspired by the soulful music I’ve been playing and singing for the past few years now.

“Place” will once again play an important role in my music. Who knows where the music will take me for my next album. Time will tell. But I’m sure glad and grateful it took me to Muscle Shoals for my current one.

XO
Amy

The Reviews Are in for “The Muscle Shoals Sessions”

Muscle Shoals Cover 240“A blend of sultry desire, ardent passion and mournful deliberation, and a sound that’s both tough and tender, mixing swagger with sway.” (RELIX)

“The album finds Black offering terrific versions of some of the vintage soul and R&B numbers recorded in Muscle Shoals.” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER)

“[The album] showcases Black’s range as a skillful interpreter. She also included three of her originals, including the album’s centerpiece, “Woman on Fire,” a blazing call-to-arms that just happens to sum up her life these days.” (BOSTON GLOBE)

“To showcase her true potential as a bluesy, R&B heavy hitter, Amy Black had to go home. Thankfully, home for her is Muscle Shoals, Alabama, home to the mythic FAME Studios. Black’s soulful chops shine…” (ELMORE MAGAZINE)

“Black Is blessed with a deeply soulful voice that melds elements of Dusty Springfield, Mavis Staples and Alberta Hunter. On Penn and Oldham’s ‘Uptight, Good Man’ Black sounds like a female Percy Sledge with her gospel infused vocals – the traditional ‘You Gotta Move’ is a slab of old school Gospel/Blues replete with gutbucket vocals, harmonies and slide…You have a set that should propel Amy Black towards international stardom.” (BLUES IN BRITAIN)

“Black has some originals that are as interesting and as funky as the covers. ‘Please Don’t Give Up On Me’ sounds like it might have been penned by Swamper composer legend Dan Penn imbued by Black’s country soul vocals. ‘Get To Me’ is a country answer to Aretha’s ‘Do Right Man,’ with a spoken word chorus encouraging women to assert themselves and find a man who loves women for who and what what they are…a smooth blend of past and present that keeps the Swamper legacy alive and kicking’.” (NO DEPRESSION)

“The highlight just might be the majestic new take on the gospel classic ‘You Gotta Move.’ It sounds like the song goes all the way back to the beginning of time. It has the strength of those who are caught in the depth of human misery yet somehow look up and see a way to another life, a scorching take on a music which gives hope to the future. Amy Black knows the trip is worth everything she’s had to do to get there, and that the next and best stop is up around the bend. There are songs by legendary people like Sam Cooke, Don Covay, Dan Penn, Bob Dylan and Arthur Alexander to ensure the way is not lost, but Black’s originals stand right up to them. The king here is groove.” (BENTLEY’S BANDSTAND/THE MORTON REPORT)

“Amy Black has achieved acclaim as a fine singer/songwriter, mostly in the Americana/Country genres. But on ‘The Muscle Shoals Sessions’, Ms. Black stayed close to her north Alabama roots with a visit to the historically-significant FAME Recording Studios for this fine collection of soul classics and originals all given that iconic Muscle Shoals sound.” (BLUES BYTES)

“4 out of 4 Stars “There are great expectations when someone is attempting to capture the supernatural spirit of a highly regarded studio. Amy Black not only went back home for this record, but she went well prepared and with the talent to back herself up. ‘The Muscle Shoals Sessions’, exudes confidence and is a throwback to the days when records were made the old fashioned way, by hard work and good music.” (ALL ABOUT JAZZ)

“Amy Black delivers a consistently satisfying and soulful simmer on a set of nicely chosen covers and genre-savvy originals. And while the covers might draw the initial attention, particularly a classically Muscle Shoals-bedecked workup of the Sam Cooke classic ‘Bring It On Home’ or Dylan’s ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’, Ms. Black’s ‘Woman On Fire’ and ‘Get To Me’ are scorchers screaming for airplay.” (ROOTS MUSIC REPORT)

“Amy Black never fails to nail that rarefied musical sweet-spot where southern gospel, the blues and R&B meet and emerge as soul – imagine a vocal blend of Bonnie Raitt, Bobbie Gentry and Rosanne Cash and you’d be close…recorded at the legendary FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the result is a Spooner Oldham, Will Kimbrough and Shoals Horns-informed 12-song mix of Shoals-sourced classics…along with a trio or well-crafted, in-the-same-vein Black originals – the saucily percolating, occasionally simmering (a la Dusty Springfield) test testimonial ‘Get To Me’, a Black Keys-vibed ‘Woman On Fire’ and the horns-framed, tear-stained plea ‘Please Don’t Give Up On Me’.” (SHINDIG!)

“In the blue-eyed soul tradition, Black recalls Dusty Springfield, Bonnie Raitt and Joan Osborne, commanding a voice that conveys the rich emotional core of the material. She evokes strength and power on her best self-penned song here, ‘Woman On Fire’ and vulnerability and sadness on ‘Starting All Over Again.” (MANCHESTER UNION LEADER)

“While there’s always a parade of artists coming to the Shoals to seek inspiration, it is not often that an artist comes to pay tribute. [Black’s] decision to cover Shoals songs for the effort turns out to be a very wise one indeed.” (EXAMINER)

“‘You Left The Water Running’ is no less tear-stained than when Otis and Pickett each bled a version in the ’60s. And Black’s clean, clear voice keeps right on hooking hearts, switching over to her own spin on Arthur Alexander gentility, Etta James bluster, and even Sam Cooke-via-Lou Rawls funk…[her original] ‘Woman on Fire’…is pure fever–tone, tempo and desire.” (BALTIMORE BLUESRAG)

“3 1/2* Black’s own compositions held their own…The blistering ‘Woman On Fire’ featuring backing vocals by Ann and Regina McCrary, sounds like a lost track by LaBelle. The sultry ‘Get To Me’ calls to mind the romantic ballads of Dusty Springfield.” (ICON Magazine)

“Black states that the ‘Sessions’ speak to her soul and that they have changed her musical direction. Black’s performance on this recording will speak to your soul too.” (MAKING A SCENE)

“Amy Black ‘gets it’ and hopefully some of you will, too. ‘The Muscle Shoals Sessions’ deserves to be heard by all who appreciate the funkier, soulful side of roots music. Amy Black just keeps getting better.” (FERVOR COULEE)

“Among the South’s many musical attractions, none seems to exert quite the pull of Alabama’s Muscle Shoals, whose FAME studio in the ’60s drew artists like Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and Etta James. Aretha Franklin’s career was revitalized and given a new direction there thanks to FAME’s studio-session musicians, among them organist Spooner Oldham, who pops up on several tracks here. Designed to ‘nail the spot where gospel, blues and R&B collide—and transform into soul,’ ‘The Muscle Shoals Sessions’ is an expanded version of an EP songstress Amy Black made a few years ago that now includes three originals. My favorite is her ‘Woman on Fire.’ Set to a beat that mirrors her pulsating blood pressure, it’s the story of a woman who’s fixated on a musician…Among the covers are terrific versions of Sam Cooke’s ‘Bring It on Home,’ Bob Dylan’s ‘Gotta Serve Somebody,’ ‘Uptight, Good Man’ by Dan Penn/Oldham and heartfelt treatment of the traditional spiritual, ‘You Got to Move.’ Great voice, great songs.”(CHICO NEWS & REVIEW)

“Amy Black knows how to reach down to the soul and change course to what feels right.” (THE IMPROPER BOSTONIAN)

“I can’t imagine anyone not getting caught up in this engaging collection, which mixes perfectly chosen covers with originals that evoke that classic sound without aping it.
‘Please Don’t Give Up On Me,’ perhaps the album’s standout track, Black takes full advantage of Charles Rose’s stellar horn arrangement, offering up a stunning soul gem that’s equal parts twangy torch song and slow-dance masterpiece.” (GATEHOUSE NEWSPAPERS wire service)

“First, a disclaimer: I’m a sucker for any singer who can do a great cover of a Sam Cooke song. Amy Black does exactly that, even though her uptempo R&B version of Cooke’s ‘Bring It On Home’ is more in line with the funk and spice of a Lou Rawls version. But the woman’s got some pipes. On this, her third solo album…she finds the nexus between gospel, blues, soul, and R&B. Mature, confident, bold, tough but also tender, Black — who has lived most of her life in Boston — has what it takes to be something special.” (THE TOLEDO BLADE)

“Black puts a modern twist on the work of the classic soul…of the 1960s through her Muscle Shoals performances of hits by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James and the Rolling Stones…” (CLEVELAND SCENE)

“2015’s ‘Muscle Shoals Sessions’ shows Amy Black at her most versatile, channeling the music of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, circa 1969 (and the surrounding decades, of course).” (RIVERFRONT TIMES)

“Her recording ‘The Muscle Shoals Sessions’ finds her delving into the rootsy, southern, bluesy, old time aura that rises from north Alabam’, forging creative covers of music from Sam Cooke and Dan Penn among others, and adding her own songs to the mix. Black is well equipped to do this, with a voice that holds hints of Bonnie Raitt and Etta James yet remains uniquely her own, and with a creative imagination that recasts Bob Dylan’s ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ and the Black Keys’ Tighten Up in ways that completely fit the roots infused story Black is telling. Those are standout tracks; so are Black’s own ‘Please Don’t Give Up On Me’ and Cooke’s Bring It On Home. Really, though, each of the dozen tracks is a keeper. (MUSIC ROAD)

“If you’re gonna cover Sam Cooke, you better do it right. If you’re going to cover­ Bob Dylan, you better do it right. If you’re — OK, you get it. Amy Black has picked out some le­gendary material for new LP ‘The Muscle Shoals Sessions’ (if you’re going to call your album ‘The Muscle Shoals Sessions,’ you better …) and Black brings every sweet song home. (THE BOSTON HERALD)

“‘The Muscle Shoals Sessions’ [is] a record as warm and funky as an Alabama summer night.” (SEVEN DAYS)

“Five Stars – ‘This is an extremely soulful new recording that will please Muscle Shoals fans old and new.’” (SUN HERALD)

“Killer blue eyed soul” (MIDWEST REVIEW)

Amy in the Boston Globe “On new album, Amy Black finds her calling in soul music”

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SOMERVILLE – Amy Black stood in this same kitchen with this same reporter nearly three years ago. But the circumstances were different, maybe even a little uncertain. Back then, Black was still working her day job in marketing, but had decided to chase a harebrained idea. It seemed crazy, but she couldn’t help but wonder:

At 40, could she pull off a lifelong dream to become a full-time singer and songwriter

Three years and as many albums later, she’s discovered she can — and has. Earlier this week Black self-released her third album, “The Muscle Shoals Sessions,” which took her to Alabama to record at FAME Recording Studios in the fabled Southern town referenced in the title.

Working with legendary Muscle Shoals musicians such as Spooner Oldham on organ, Black veered away from the country and folk leanings of her previous releases for a confident foray into blue-eyed soul music. She’s been hooked on soul lately, and for a recent interview at her Somerville home, she’s sporting a Mavis Staples T-shirt to prove it.

“When you’re in the middle of something, sometimes you don’t recognize progress,” Black says on her back porch, sipping coffee with her husband, Ryan, by her side. “But when I do take a step back and see how far I’ve come, it’s pretty amazing. It’s a short period of time for the amount of discovery and music I’ve produced.”

Read the full article here.

PopMatters Debuts Amy’s “Bring It On Home” Music Video

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.14.52 AM“Black tells PopMatters about her choice of “Bring It On Home to Me”: “When selecting songs for The Muscle Shoals Sessions album, I stumbled on a very funky interpretation of Sam Cooke’s ‘Bring It On Home to Me’, recorded by Lou Rawls in Muscle Shoals a decade after the original. This version is a blast to perform live. I brought that energy to the video, and resurrected a special character who came to life several Halloween’s ago. Her name is Grandma Gertie; she’s from Waterloo, Alabama, carries Moonpies in her pockets, loves her sweetheart, and has to ‘shake that thang’ when she hears a killer groove.”

Click here to watch the video and read the article.

Amy Black at Johnny D’s on June 12 and 13 – The Muscle Shoals Sessions Album Release and Farewell Boston Shows

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TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR BOTH NIGHTS
Friday night, June 12 >> Get Tickets
Saturday night, June 13  >> Get Tickets
Boston is a excellent place to start and grow a music career. Just ask Amy Black. In a relatively short time, she’s made her way from an unknown to a respected national touring singer and songwriter and on June 9, 2015 will release her third solo studio album, “The Muscle Shoals Sessions.” With her two nights at Johnny D’s on June 12 and June 13, Amy is both celebrating the new album and bidding Boston farewell as she makes the move to Nashville to start a next chapter.
Don’t miss the chance to join Amy, a killer band and special guests for a send off and to enjoy a live performance of “The Muscle Shoals Sessions” her new album of classic soul and inspired originals recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama (her family’s homeland) with legendary keys player, Spooner Oldham, Will Kimbrough and Regina and Ann McCrary of the McCrary Sisters.

American Songwriter Magazine calls Amy Black “a powerful, authentic, talented and above all soulful new entry in the rootsy singer/songwriter ranks;” while the Philadelphia Inquirer calls her ” an appealing cross between Bonnie Raitt and Mary Chapin Carpenter” with “songs that mix substance and accessibility.” With storytelling and southern tradition in her blood, Amy has shared stages with artists including Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Delbert McClinton, Chris Isaak, Suzy Boggus, Joey Ely, and the Courtyard Hounds. Her seamless blend of all things Americana, coupled with her soulful, smooth vocals and gift for bringing characters to life through song make her an artist that pleases lovers of blues, soul and country alike. More about Amy at www.amyblack.com

Opening act: Lewis West at 6:15 pm
Amy and Band from 7:00 – 9:00 pm