Amy Black

Memphis

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Following up her critically lauded Muscle Shoals Sessions LP, Nashville blues and soul artist Amy Black returns with Memphis, a warmly detailed ten-song set produced by Scott Bomar of Memphis' own soul-jazz champions the Bo-Keys. Although Black made her name working out of Boston's burgeoning roots music scene, she was born in the South, and with each subsequent release she seems to deepen her exploration of Southern musical traditions, subtly moving away from the acoustic Americana of her early albums. Like her previous release, Memphis is devoted to the rich heritage of its city of choice, but where the Muscle Shoals album offered up a stacked deck of classic covers originally associated with the hitmaking Alabama town, this album pays homage to the birthplace of rock & roll with all original material in a distinctly Memphis style. Between Black's velvety vocals and Bomar's impeccable arrangements, Memphis ultimately plays like a blues album, but touches on other regional tones as well. Torchy sizzlers like "It's Hard to Love an Angry Man" and "The Blackest Cloud" give these sessions their attitude, while lighter retro-soul numbers like "If I Could Reach Out (And Help Somebody)" and "We Got a Good Thing" are more upbeat and sentimental. The performances are rich and satisfying and the songwriting throughout is quite strong on another solid release from Black.

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