We'd won tickets to the show for Amy Black's first CD release a few years ago, and won tickets again for her second CD release event, this time at Johnny D's on Friday, February 7th.
Had a nice dinner in a surprisingly quiet Davis Square, at Redbones, where they had Peak Organic on cask ... yum! We got over to Johnny D's just in time to grab one of the tables on the bar side back by the coat racks. The tables on the stage side were all packed and they probably had a lot of standers, though we couldn't see from where we were.
Shannon McNally opened and I loved her set. She's from Long Island but has lived in Mississippi for a long time and has a smooth Southern swampy, country-blues vibe to her verbally gritty songs, that speak to the hard parts of life. She did a Bobby Charles cover (I Don't Want To Know) but besides that stuck to originals; my favorite was Pale Moon. She's recently worked with Dr. John and Luther Dickinson, among others. Shannon even got in a Dead reference, when she said that she'd be back the next night with a whole new set of songs, "Like the Grateful Dead."
Then Amy came on with an excellent band (including Jim Scopa on guitar and a fantastic guy on B3). You could tell from the (late) start of her career that Amy had loads of talent as a singer and as a songwriter. She's taken some time to grow into it, and now is doing some marvelous stuff. She recently quit her day job to concentrate more on music, and it seems a big thing was embracing her love of Southern R&B instead of always trying to sound like a Northern folk-blues type.
Amy's new songs really let her voice shine and she belted them out with confidence. She sounded great with the B3, and sang most of the songs from her new CD, also mixing in some of her earlier hits, like Meet Me On the Dance Floor, Stay, Whiskey and Wine (possibly my favorite), and the encore, One Time. She had to quit a bit early to make room for Johnny D's late show.
Had a nice talk with Jim Scopa and a few words with Shannon, but then took off into the cold February night.
Here are pictures Sarah took: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahebourne/sets/72157640674663615/
Here's Shannon doing Pale Moon from a few years ago: