The Muscle Shoals area of Alabama is a legendary place when it comes to the history of music. An incredible amount of great sounds were produced there in the ’60s and ’70s, buoyed by the talents of world-renowned session musicians like The Swampers, the Muscle Shoals Horns, Duane Allman and more.
When Amy Black recorded her new project, The Muscle Shoals Sessions, she headed to northern Alabama to cut some sides at Fame Studios, where legends such as Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Joe Tex and Aretha Franklin all threw down classic tracks. When you hear the first cut, Black begins to sing the Sam Cooke classic “Bring It On Home” slow and deliberately. Then, at the 50-second mark, that trademark Muscle Shoals southern-Soul groove kicks in, fueled by Spooner Oldham of the original Swampers, Will Kimbrough, Ann and Regina McCrary, Charles Rose of the Muscle Shoals Horns and others.
When it came time to form a touring group for the album, Black grabbed up drummer Ryan Black (her husband) and friend and fellow singer/songwriter Sarah Borges, who has performed in Cincinnati many times with her own band, The Broken Singles. The rest of the Muscle Shoals Revue Band includes guitarist Sam Smith, Simon Pajaro on sax, keyboardist Mike Murray and bassist Brett Frey, all recent alumni of the Berklee College of Music.