Praise for "Memphis" - The Reviews Are In

“We have a blue-eyed soul singer who is now following in the footsteps of her original idol, Mavis Staples, and new ones like Ann Peebles and O.V. Wright.” —ELMORE

“Black’s new record is Memphis, a soulful and swinging collection of seven originals plus three covers of songs by legendary artists Otis Clay, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Ruby Johnson. Released on her own label Reuben Records, the aptly titled album shines a light on Black’s love for the iconic city that has been home to some of the greatest blues, soul, country and rock ‘n’ roll ever produced.” —CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“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 Electraphonic 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

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

“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

“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

“A week ago I’d not heard of Amy Black; but I’ve just spent a small fortune buying her back catalogue…and I think you will too.” —THE ROCKING MAGPIE

“The performances are rich and satisfying and the songwriting throughout is quite strong on another solid release from Black. (4 out of 5 stars)“ —ALL MUSIC

“An album steeped in bluesy grooves, brassy grit, and soulful emotion.” —THE DAILY COUNTRY

“Ten songs that embody all the facets of Memphis from the danceable exuberance to the slow sexiness to Sunday morning gospel.”—NO DEPRESSION

“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 vocals are powerful when required but she’s also learned what many young singers fail to grasp; if you tone things down at just the right moment you can still achieve maximum impact. That’s what the Memphis musicians know and they and Amy combine to make a great team.” —SOUL AND JAZZ AND FUNK

Memphis is a good record. It’s very true to the spirit of Memphis soul.” —INK 19

“She has created not only several odes to the genre’s titans, but also written her own chapter in that city’s fabled musical history. Wherever her musical muse takes her next (Chicago or Detroit seem logical), she’s proven a consistent enough student to make you want to tag along.” —AXS

“As Black affirms here, short of a personal pilgrimage, there’s no better way to sample those sounds than to drop the needle on Memphis in the meantime.” —GLIDE

“I can absolutely say that Amy Black is a Southern soul powerhouse.” —BLUE RIDGE OUTDOORS

“The sound of Memphis plays out the love of Soul music and its history in every note.” —THE ALTERNATE ROOT

“With her last album, Amy Black dipped her toes in soul, covering and recording with the Muscle Shoals Sessions. She heads up the Mississippi River to fully immerse herself in the sound for her latest release, Memphis” —THE ALTERNATE ROOT

“Genuine effusiveness and feeling.” —RECORD COLLECTOR (U.K.)

“What counts the most on an album like this isn’t who did the songs first or even who wrote them, but rather do they nail the listener’s heart to the wall and spread understanding and joy in a time that could use huge dosages of both. Put this one in the alley and call it mission mightily accomplished.” —Bentley’s Bandstand, THE MORTON REPORT

“Black (brings) a rich, authentic Memphis sound and a sense of genuine emotion. It would be easy to come off as a poseur with this kind of ‘retro’ material, but it’s a testament to Black’s real affection for the music that “Memphis” feels so honest and lived-in. It’s transcendent.” — WICKED LOCAL (Massachusetts)

“Black’s songwriting also soon took on the aura of those soul music immortals. Her songs are fresh and new and modern, yet suffused with the sounds and attitudes of those Stax Records and Hi Records artists who made Memphis soul stand out.” —PATRIOT LEDGER

“There’s a precedent for Memphis; Black’s 2015 album, The Muscle Shoals Sessions, found her traveling to the venerable Muscle Shoals, Alabama, studios to work with Spooner Oldham, no stranger to Memphis sounds. So triangulating from her home in Nashville was a natural for her. For Memphis she cut tracks at Bomar’s Electraphonic Recording studio and then mixed it at Ardent. And as noted above, a cream of Memphis musicians pitched in to infuse the new record with authenticity.” —BLURT

“All that’s missing is some Church’s Fried Chicken or dried rub BBQ from Corky’s and you’re set for the night.” —JAZZ WEEKLY

“Showcases the vocalist’s deep understanding of the sound and aesthetic of music made decades ago at Stax, Ardent, Sun, Hi and other studios in the Bluff City.” —COLORADO SPRINGS INDEPENDENT

“With Memphis, Black uses the city’s musical legacy to make a strong statement on her own,” —ICON

“Bet on Black; she has another winner in Memphis!” —MAKING A SCENE

“The Best 2017 Albums So Far That You May Have Missed” —CULTURE SONAR

“Stunning” —POPDOSE

Memphis Album Now Available

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.

"Memphis" is available wherever digital music is sold!

Closing Out a Muscle Shoals Year

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

Reflections on a Southern Journey

 

I’m taking a moment to reflect and recount the events of my amazing last two weeks down South. Bottom line feeling – gratitude. This is the start of my second year of full-time music making, touring the country and giving this career everything I have. I’m discovering that what is at the heart of this life as a lower to middle class musician is:

1) The people. The music lovers who are filled with passion and are generous of spirit. They open their homes to you, cook you a hot meal, bring their friends to meet you, make you feel like what you are doing is important and matters.

2)The experiences. Visiting new places across this grand nation, playing new venues, each with its own flavor, tasting the local cuisine, hanging around for a bit and learning about what a community has to offer. Seeing the love that locals have for their cities, their sports teams — but mostly for the music and how that love unites us all.

No matter what the future holds for me, I’m grateful for the opportunity to have the life I’ve got RIGHT NOW and for all the people along the way who are inspiring and encouraging me. We are in this together.

First stop, Nashville, to record Regina and Ann McCrary and an awesome horn section for the new album. I’m grateful these folks wanted to be a part of my project and am blown away by their talent. It was magical hearing their parts added to the music we recorded in Muscle Shoals with the band last month. They took the album to another level!

A shout out for my producer: Lex Price is the best. He’s talented and dedicated. He’s a perfectionist (in the right way) and is making sure that this album sounds the best it can. I’m lucky to have him on my team!


Shows with Will Kimbrough in Nashville and Alabama

I got to play some great shows with Will Kimbrough, first at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville with Blue Mother Tupelo. One of my biggest supporters, Debbie from Texas, drove all the way to Nashville to see the show. That made my night. Next, we went to Birmingham, AL hosted by a wonderful group of music lovers known as “Small Stages” who got 100 people out and had to turn 50 away. I’m grateful for the folks who let us stay in their lovely home that night, and for the awesome couple who made us breakfast the next morning before we headed out for lower Alabama.

We played the magical Frog Pond Sunday Social at Blue Moon Farm near Mobile, AL, where our hostess Cathe Steele wowed us with her concert series, beautiful grounds, a wonderful place to stay, a hot breakfast cooked over an open fire and a generous spirit.


A Little R&R on 30A in Florida

I discovered 30A in January at a songwriting festival and couldn’t wait to get back!

My husband, Ryan, and I took off from there for Rosemary Beach, Florida, for a few days of rest in a condo that a wonderful guy who lives in Japan offered to us for no cost simply because I’m a musician. Wow.

Down in the Mississippi Delta

Next stop, Clarksdale, MS in the heart of the Delta. We stayed at The Shack Up In and met the owners, finding out that we have friends in common.

While eating breakfast in town, we were approached by a friendly gentleman because I had my guitar with me. He wanted to know who we were and he happened to be the owner of the cafe — and a lawyer. He told us there was a meeting going on across the street with a bunch of folks from Nashville and elsewhere about a new movement called the Americana Music Triangl. He thought we’d be interested.

We walked in and met the mayor of Clarksdale, Bill Luckett (co-owner with Morgan Freeman of Ground Zero Blues Club) and we met Aubrey Preston of Nashville who is heading this whole thing up (he also orchestrated the rescue of Studio A in Nashville – where I recorded my last album). He was joined by the head of the Franklin Theatre in TN as well as tourism leaders from four different states and most of the local owners of music related venues and stores. The meeting was inspiring and now we are on board with the movement. I happened to be one of the only artist there and I happened to have just recorded in Muscle Shoals, AL. When I told the group I would be touring with a Muscle Shoals Revue show this summer — the mayor said, “See me after.” I’m now playing Ground Zero on July 15.

After the meeting, we headed over to Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art to talk with the owner and music/community organizer guru, Roger Stolle. While speaking to him, two ladies came in the store and all of a sudden they were right next to me telling him, “This is one of the best singers in New England.” I turned and saw two fans from Rhode Island who have been to multiple shows at The Narrows in Fall River, MA, and just happened to be in Clarksdale…with me…in February. Wow. They made my day.

Next, we moved on to Oxford, MS and stayed with the most excellent Allouises — John and Marie. They are from Revere and now live in Mississippi. They left it all behind to move down to the Delta where Marie’s family is from originally and where John gets to play bass on some of the coolest gigs eva (Boston accent)! John made us an incredible meal, complete with homemade pasta and lots of delicious red wine. They put us up for the night in their guest room and then next day we met our our friend (and killer keys player) Mark Yacavone for a southern breakfast before getting on the road to Muscle Shoals.

 

Back to Muscle Shoals, Ice Driving

The trip from Oxford to Muscle Shoals was slippery — lots of ice on the road — and by the time we arrived in Florence, AL, around 3 pm, everything was shutting down. The roads were covered in ice. Our wonderful hosts Will and Julie Trapp let us come over to their place a little earlier than planned and set up camp in their guest bedroom. They made us soup and grilled cheese (Will’s specialty) and then Will braved the elements to take us over to a venue in town for some music. His ice driving was impressive.

Nashville then Home!

The next day, we headed back to Nashville for a last day with my parents before flying back to Boston. They are wonderful people. Kind, generous in spirit, loving and a joy. It’s so special to get time together as life keeps marching forward. We are making plans to see them more often.

A cold day in Florida with my best friend and partner in life (and my drummer) – so grateful he’s on this journey with me!

This is a lot. A lot of happenings, a lot of info. When I started this post, I was writing it on Facebook. I wasn’t planning on typing so much, but there was so much to tell. So much to be grateful for. Now as I look back, I see what a killer couple of weeks that was, how much generosity we experienced. It’s easy to walk away and leave a time like this behind too quickly. I’m taking a moment to reflect and be inspired.

I’m beginning to understand what is truly at the heart of building a music career from the ground up — what the true joy is. It’s the people and experiences you encounter along the way. THANK YOU.

Muscle Shoals Session - Meet the Amazing Band!

I love making records. It’s probably my favorite part of being a singer. Singing live is a blast and I love that too, but there’s something so special about getting a group of some of the best musicians around together for a few days with the one focus of making and recording music. Magic can happen and in my experience, does. I’m looking forward to making magic with these folks. Here’s the band for my new album, The Muscle Shoals Sessions. The core players will join me in Muscle Shoals and then we will record background vocals and horns in Nashville in February. Good times!

Spooner Oldham, Keys – Spooner is at the heart of this project. I met him a year and a half ago. My producer Lex Price had the idea of asking if he would join us for a one-day session we were doing at FAME. I’d wanted to record at FAME for a while because of my family connection to the area. Initially we were going to do a few songs for the “This Is Home” album, but once we finished recording in Nashville, realized that the new album was complete. That’s when I had the idea to record some classic Muscle Shoals songs and put out an EP. We were all in awe having Spooner there with us at FAME. He’s a legend. It was a treat to get to know him, hear many stories of the past, and hear him play the same Wurley that he played with Aretha (pictured above). We became friends and have stayed in touch since. I’m so glad to have him back for this album. His unique talent and special connection to Muscle Shoals past brings great authenticity to the project. And I just like the guy.

[SPOONER BIO] Spooner was an integral part of the Muscle Shoals studio bands of the late ’60s, as an organist he made a definite mark on the sound of soul music. Starting as a piano player in high school bands, when Oldham graduated and began studying at the University of North Alabama, he quickly found himself skipping classes in favor of hanging around Rick Hall’s FAME studios in nearby Florence, Al. After adding the ghostly organ sound on Percy Sledge’s runaway hit “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Oldham became a member of Rick Hall’s ace studio band alongside guitarist Jimmy Johnson, bassist Junior Lowe and drummer Roger Hawkins. Together the unit played on landmark albums by Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin among others. Defecting to Memphis in 1967, Oldham teamed up with singer Dan Penn at Chips Moman’s American Studios, and the duo developed into one of the best songwriting partnerships in music. Together the two wrote hits for Aretha Franklin (“Do Right Woman”) and the Box Tops (“Cry Like a Baby”) among others as well as having their songs appear as album cuts on artists such as Janis Joplin (“A Woman Left Lonely”). After the trailblazing days of southern soul came to an end, Oldham took his considerable talents elsewhere, adding piano and organ to such acts as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and the Everly Brothers. He remains a respected figure among music aficionados not only for his tasteful keyboard playing, but for his songwriting as well. (Source: ALL MUSIC)

Will Kimbrough, Guitars – Will and I met in 2013 when he worked on my “This Is Home” album in Nashville. I was very excited to work with him. I’d heard great things from a lot of folks, including Rodney Crowell. Will’s playing is crazy good and he is an excellent human too. I quickly became a huge fan. His playing is so soulful, creative and versatile. I love what he brings to the music as the lead guitarist. I had the pleasure to do some touring with him this year and to record a short EP of four songs at Muscle Shoals. There was no way I was doing this extended version of the project without Will. He da bomb diggy.

[BIO] Will Kimbrough is hungry. The youthful singer, songwriter, award-winning guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, producer, performer and bandleader has a voracious appetite for every aspect of music. Born and raised in the deep south of the Alabama Gulf Coast, he ingested eclectic FM radio sounds and the music of nearby New Orleans. In his quest to develop his musical capacities to their fullest, Will Kimbrough has become a modern-day Renaissance Man.

Kimbrough’s body of work reflects a lifetime of performing, writing and collaborating from more angles than Da Vinci’s protractor. True to his search for universal truths, his profound musical knowledge and expert creations reflect years of learning the intricacies of folk, blues, gospel, country, rock’n’roll, punk rock and jazz.

With songs recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Little Feat, Jack Ingram, Todd Snider and others, Kimbrough’s multidisciplinary approach has led to many desirable collaborations in the studio and on-stage with well-known artists, including Roseanne Cash, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Gomez, Emmylou Harris, the Jayhawks, Mark Knopfler, Buddy Miller, John Prine, Toumani Diabate, Kim Richey, Josh Rouse, Matthew Ryan, Billy Joe Shaver, Todd Snider, Mavis Staples, Garrison Starr, Adrienne Young, and others.

Dubbed an Alien performer as a way to explain his masterful performance on the guitar, Kimbrough was recognized in 2004 as the Instrumentalist of the Year by the Americana Music Association – an award that had previously been awarded three years in a row to Dobro ace Jerry Douglas. (from Will’s website)

His most recent solo album is “Sideshow Love.”

Lex Price, Producer, Mixer and Bass – I met Lex several years ago when I was looking for a producer in Nashville. I met with him and several other guys and was drawn to him the most. When I asked what he felt he could bring to my recorded music, he said that he would like to dirty up the sound a bit. That intrigued me and as I dug dig deeper it was clear that this was the guy I wanted to work with for “This Is Home.” He also is a killer bass player (among other instruments) and played on the album. He did an amazing job on that album and the Muscle Shoals EP. I’m so glad to be working with him once again. Oh, and he has a super cool beard. : )

[BIO] Since arriving in Nashville in 1998, multi-instrumentalist and producer Lex Price has quietly become one of the most respected all-around musicians in the city’s rapidly evolving scene. His contributions on stage, on the road and in the studio have bolstered some of today’s most intriguing and uncompromising artists, including k.d. lang, Mindy Smith, Peter Bradley Adams, Sarah Siskind, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, Matthew Ryan, Kate York and Grant Lee Phillips. In Price, they have found a musician long on craft and experience but also one with impeccable taste and restraint. He makes the most of every gesture, and he pares away the inessential until all that remains is integrity and beauty. Lex has produced acclaimed albums for artists including Mindy Smith, Robby Hecht, Peter Bradley Adams, Amy Black, The Westies. Price is currently k.d. lang’s bassist.

Bryan Owings, Drums & Percussion – This will be my first time working with Bryan, but I can’t wait. He plays with some of my favorite folks (see below). I love a killer drummer who knows how to lay down a groove I can move to and I know I have one for this session. Bryan’s credits are very impressive and the word on the street is that he’s a great guy. Uber talented and super nice. What a great combo!

[BIO] Drummer Bryan Owings is a Mississippi native who has called Nashville home since the late 1980s. He has played with Buddy and Julie Miller, Wanda Jackson, Delbert McClinton, Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams, Shelby Lynne and recently played with Alicia Keys on music recorded for the acclaimed Muscle Shoals documentary.

Ann and Regina McCrary, Background Vocals – Oh man. I’m pretty fired up about these ladies saying yes to joining this project. I’m a great admirer of their singing. The first time I heard them was on Buddy Miller’s “Universal House of Prayer.” Wow. They bring the soul and the fire to any project they work on. They are are going to be a huge part of the soulful experience I want listeners to have when listening to this album. I met Ann through my publicist Karen Leipziger and after a great time at coffee we discussed the project and she and Regina agreed to come on board. We will do their vocals in Nashville in February. Can’t wait!

[BIO] For The McCrary Sisters, the daughters of the late Rev. Samuel McCrary — one of the original members of the legendary gospel quartet The Fairfield Four. The daughters were raised in harmony, singing at home and at their father’s church.

Ann traveled and sang with the Fairfield Four from the age of 3 until she was 6. She sung with various gospel groups on the weekends until she began singing and traveling with the BCM Mass Choir (Baptist, Catholic, and Methodist) as one of their soloist. Ann has performed with the who’s who of contemporary gospel music, including The Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, and many more. Ann has recorded 2 CD’s: “What Is This,” produced by Cedric, and Victor Caldwell, recorded on ATF records; and the self-titled “Ann McCrary,” produced by Steve Crawford, on Vital records. Ann was also a member of Bobby Jones’s Nashville Super Choir for 12 years.

Regina began her singing career traveling with the BCM Mass Choir as one of the soloists at the age of 7, and was known throughout the choir’s travels for singing/recording “I Made A Vow” (the recording was nominated for a Grammy). Regina toured and performed for 6 years with the legendary songwriter Bob Dylan. She recorded three albums with Dylan: “Slow Train Coming”, “Saved”, and “Shot of Love”. Regina released her solo CD, “I Made A Vow”, in 2007. Regina also performed with Elvis and Stevie Wonder and has sung with Bobby Jones, and The New Life Singers, and The Nashville Super Choir

Charles Rose, Horn Arrangements and Trombone – Charles Rose is new to me, but he is not new to the music of Muscle Shoals. He’s a member of the Muscle Shoals Horns group and has played on some incredible music through the years. Having him on the project and at the helm of the horn arrangements gives me the confidence that we are going to make music that truly represents the legacy of Muscle Shoals.

[BIO] Charles Rose is a Shoals based trombonist who is an original member of the Muscle Shoals Horns. Charles has toured extensively with Elton John, Lyle Lovett and Waylon Jennings. He’s shared a stage or a studio with the likes of Delbert McClinton, Dobie Gray, Joe Cocker, James Brown, Jason Isbell, Millie Jackson, Johnny Nash, Dr. Hook, Levon Helm, Denise LaSalle, Clarence Carter, Kris Kristofferson, Freddie North, Court Pickett, Bobby Blue Bland, Canned Heat and Z.Z. Hill just to name a few.

Jim Hoke, Saxophone –  Jim is new to me too, but it seems like he’s got credits on pretty much every album I’ve listened to recently. He’s an excellent addition to the band and will bring the Muscle Shoals horn sound to life with his saxophone playing!

[BIO] Jim is Nashville’s premier “go to” guy on sax/woodwinds, harmonica, pedal steel, a plethora of other color instruments, plus horn and string arrangements for a virtual who’s who of artists of every musical category. Top artists in pop, country, Americana and many other styles respect Jim for the amazing level of artistry he brings to everything he does. Nashville is a town of musical specialists and Jim is a rarity – a specialist on a baffling number of instruments, and he plays each one as if it’s the only thing he does.  On sax, you hear the whole history of the saxophone coming through; warm luxuriant Lester Young, soulful tough King Curtis, suave and smart Stan Getz and much more, melding into Jim’s own style. When he plays blues/country harp, you hear plaintive Sonny Terry blues, raw Paul Butterfield urban energy, and so much more. On chromatic harmonica, there’s Stevie Wonder lyricism and Toots Thielemans innovation. Drawing so deeply from the well enables Jim to be the perfect stylist for any musical situation and this is the main reason for his success in the studio.

Steve Herrmann, Trumpet –  Steve came highly recommended to me by my publicist and she knows her horns, so we took her advice. Turns out that Steve often works with Charles and Jim, so it all came together easily.

[BIO] Steve Herrman grew up in Hamilton, Ohio. Herrman began taking piano lessons in first grade, but ultimately quit because at the time he “was too immature to do technical drills.” Shortly thereafter, he found a trumpet lying around the house and decided to try and play it, and immediately found his voice. Still, Herrman never considered making music his life until, “[he] really started listening to jazz and then [he] heard Miles Davis.”

In his 20s Herrman began playing with a Mexican Cumbia band in Dallas when he got a call to fill in for Delbert McClinton’s trumpet player, who was taking a job in Japan and he stayed for 7 years. Through working with McClinton, Herrman met saxophonist Jim Horn and began a three year stint with Waylon Jennings, where he met Charles Rose, leader of the Muscle Shoals Horns. That friendship would lead to countless recording sessions, as well as a stint in the Lyle Lovett Band. Since then, Herrman has been freelancing and joined Kenny Chesney from 2007-2010. (source: Blues Rock Review)

Joe Costa, Sound Engineer – I got the chance to work with Joe in Nashville when I recorded “This Is Home” in Studio A (Ben Folds Studio). In addition to working with many other artists, Joe is Ben Fold’s longtime and highly trusted sound engineer. I was so impressed with his abilities and, not to mention, his awesome personality. He was an obvious addition to the team and we look forward to bringing him to Muscle Shoals. Oh, I did I mentioned that he’s originally from Massachusetts. Nice.

[BIO] – Joe is originally from Dartmouth, MA, He was a staff engineer at Synchro Sound Boston MA 1992-1993, Moved to Nashville in 1993 and has been a freelance Engineer from 1993-Present.

That’s the team. Because of them, we are going to have a killer album to share with you this year!