Track Premiere: Amy Black “If I Could Reach Out”

New album “Memphis” out this week.

By Blurt Staff

It’s called “If I Could Reach Out (and Help Somebody)” and, if you are a fan of soul/blues man Otis Clay, you’ve already recognize the tune. Now, songstress Amy Black has recorded it for her new album, titled Memphis, which was indeed recorded in Memphis and was produced by Scott Bomar of Memphis nu-soul-funk mainstays The Bo-Keys. Folks from St. Paul & the Broken Bones, along with legends of the Memphis session musician community (like the Hi Records rhythm section), appear on the record as well. The album drops June 2 on Black’s Reuben Records label, and we are privileged to premiere the aforementioned track:

Notes Black, about the track and the album, “When I was in Boston, I’d watched a program on PBS and found out about the Nashville-based organization Thistle Farms and their work with woman in the sex trade. I was so moved by what I learned and I remember thinking, “If I ever move to Nashville, I want to work with those guys.” Now, that I was here and needed to place to give to, I called Thistle Farms, attended an orientation (that had me in tears) and started volunteering with the amazing woman in the shipping department.

“Each week, I would drive into Nashville and volunteer. It got me into the city, I got to know some of these incredible women and hear their stories, and I really got out of my own way. It wasn’t glamorous work, which was perfect. Just taking orders and packing boxes, helping a cause that I believe in. And, no surprise, it was just the right medicine. I found so much from giving.

“Fast forward one year and I was in a very different place — living in East Nashville (the perfect spot for me) and preparing to do an album in Memphis with some killer players. I had the originals for the album lined up, but wanted to do three Memphis covers. My producer, Scott Bomar sent me Otis Clay’s, “If I Could Reach Out (and Help Somebody)” for consideration. All it took was one listen to know that I would definitely do this song. It’s what I believe. It is my religion. I can’t wait to sing it live at every show. I’ll take everyone to church and delivering it as my sermon: It is better to give than to receive.”

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.

She’ll be hitting the road with her Memphis Music Revue show, the followup to her previous Muscle Shoals Revue, naturally enough, starting next week. More details: http://amyblack.com/

Wed., June 5  CLEVELAND, OH  The Beachland Ballroom
Tues., June 6  WORTHINGTON, OH  Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza
Sun., June 11  NASHVILLE, TN  City Winery Nashville
Mon., June 12  ST. LOUIS, MO  Off Broadway
Sun., June 18  CHICAGO, IL  City Winery Chicago
Wed., June 21  NEWPORT, KY  Southgate House
Fri., June 23  OKLAHOMA CITY, OK  The Blue Door
Sat., June 24  DALLAS, TX  AllGood Cafe
Tues., June 27  AUSTIN, TX  The Townsend
Thurs., June 29  HOUSTON, TX  The Mucky Duck
Sun., July 2  ATLANTA, GA  City Winery Atlanta
Thurs., July 6  MEMPHIS, TN  Lafayette’s Music Room
Thurs., July 13  AUBURN, AL  Sundilla Concert Series (Unitarian Fellowship building)

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