with Kelly Thomas
Southgate House Revival (Lounge), 111 E 6th St, Newport, KY
AMY BLACK’S “THIS IS HOME,” (FEBRUARY 4, 2014/Reuben Records), her second solo release, was produced by Lex Price (Mindy Smith, Peter Bradley Adams) and recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at Ben’s Studio on Music Row (formerly historic RCA STUDIO A.)
Joining Amy (acoustic guitar/vocals) in the studio for the album were Will Kimbrough (Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell) on acoustic and electric guitars, Oliver Wood (Wood Brothers) on electric guitars, Josh Range (KD Lang, Sheryl Crow) on pedal and lap steel and piano, Ian Fitchuk (Caitlin Rose, Amy Grant) on the Hammond B-3 organ, Wurlitzer piano, drums and percussion and Lex Price (KD Lang, Mindy Smith) on electric and acoustic bass and the tenor guitar.
“This Is Home” features 11 original songs and two covers, plus one hidden track. Together, the songs paint a picture of the different experiences of home — the sweet, the bitter and all things in between.”My family and history are very much a part of this project. This is especially felt in the song ‘Alabama’ a cornerstone on the album. I wrote this for my family, but specifically for my granddad, a very special person in my life who passed away a few years ago. He rarely left his small town in the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama and when he did, he couldn’t wait to get back home. He didn’t feel the need to see the world like his grandchildren did. He couldn’t have been happier than when he was rocking on his back porch drinking a glass of sweet tea. And I felt incredible comfort when I joined him.”
[****Amy pays homage to her Muscle Shoals’ roots with her recent four song EP “The Muscle Shoals Session” – recorded this past summer with Spooner Oldham at FAME recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. “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.” The EP can be downloaded for free at: http://www.nimbitmusic.com/
The ballad, “Alabama,” along with the slow burner “I’m Home” make up the “sweet” of the album. In the smoky and sultry, “Old Hurt,” a woman struggles to accept her demons, and in the sleepy retro rocker “Nobody Knows You” a lover reminds her other that the “other side’s in view.” Songs including “Make Me an Angel” told from a child’s perspective, “Hello”, “Stronger” and “We Had a Life” address the more difficult topics of abuse, dementia, suicide and divorce, while “These Walls Are Falling Down” offers a glimmer of hope that a dying relationship could still be revived. And for those who just want to dance, the upbeat and playful, “Cat’s in The Kitchen” is the ticket.
“There’s certainly a mix of emotion going on when you put these songs together. But that’s what life is like. The good stuff and the painful stuff are all mixed in together. Music has always helped me to celebrate as well as connect, express and deal with the difficult things I’m facing. I hope my songs on this album can do the same for others.”
The album also includes Amy’s soulful re-imaginings of John Prine’s classic, “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” as well as Rodney Crowell’s “Still Learning How to Fly,” a favorite of Amy’s. “The first time I heard Rodney sing ‘Still Learning How to Fly’ live was in a little club in Maine. It was just him and his guitar on stage, no band. I was moved. I connected with the idea of being broken, but believing that you can still become something great. On my better days, I like to think the line, ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’ is true about me.”