News and Notes: Amy Black, Tom Petty and Jenny Lewis

Amy Black This Is Home

Years ago, when my daughter was a pre-schooler, she once said “Daddy, stop talking to people you don’t know.”  That will never happen; it seems to be inscribed in my DNA that I do so.

And so a few months ago, I found myself talking to the woman sitting next to me at a club (I think it was the Manhattan Hill Country).  Her name was Amy Black, and we had a very nice conversation during which she told me about her new CD and that she would be playing Hill Country NY on August 6, after the Emmylou HarrisRodney Crowell show at Lincoln Center Out of Doors .  We traded cards and she promised to send me her new record.

That CD, This Is Home, arrived at my mailbox not long ago.  Having listened to it a few times, I can tell you that it is a wonderful record.  Amy sings Americana and alt country in a strong voice that is at times reminiscent of Rosanne Cash, but with a bit more honey and a drop less vinegar.  The original songs on This Is Home are strong and the covers (of songs by  Rodney Crowell and John Prine) inspired.  The band backing Amy is tasty and includes the exceptional Will Kimbrough on guitar.

Finding a record this good from a someone I had not previously known about is a delight.  And it’s one of those reasons, that despite my kid’s long ago plea, I will continue to talk to people I don’t know.

NPR

NPR will frequently make available, via streaming,  new records the week before they are due to be released.  This week two records which have been anticipated are available: Hypnotic Eye from Tom Petty and Jenny Lewis’ The Voyager.  Just click the links here and you can hear them.  But remember, you’ll only have this week to do so.

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