The first single, “Breathing,” a lush, soulful serenade punctuated by organ and horns, is out now. Click here to listen.
“What The Flood Leaves Behind,” according to amyhelm.com, “Marks a landing — a pause for the traveling musician and mother of two young boys who was seeking clarity in her calling and career.”
Known as The Barn, Levon Helm Studios was the home-recording studio launched by Helm’s father, the late Levon Helm. Levon Helm was drummer, mandolin player and vocalist for The Band and welcomed fans to The Barn for his singular Midnight Ramble house concerts. Levon Helm Studios over decades hosted recording sessions that featured Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and My Morning Jacket. And The Barn is where Levon Helm recorded his two Grammy-winning comeback albums, 2007’s “Dirt Farmer” and 2009’s “Electric Dirt.”
Amy Helm played pivotal roles in both of those albums and also performed in the Levon Helm Band during the Midnight Rambles.
So she was stepping into a lot of history, much of it her own, when she launched the sessions for “What The Flood Leaves Behind” prior to the pandemic.
“Going back to the place where I learned so much about how to express music, how to hold myself in music, how to listen to music, it was humbling in a funny way,” she said in an announcement of the new album. “I could see clearly where I came from and where I am now in my life. I was singing from a different place now and for a different reason.”
“What The Flood Leaves Behind” was produced by Josh Kaufman, a member of the band Bonny Light Horseman who has collaborated with Taylor Swift and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. The musicians who join Helm on the effort are Phil Cook on keyboards and harmonica; Michael Libramento on bass and organ; Tony Mason on drums; Daniel Littleton on guitar; Stuart Bogie on saxophone; Jordan McLean on trumpet; and Helm’s son, Lee Collins, on congas.
Kaufman said the goal was to make Helm’s new album “about her voice and about the musicians responding to her and not the other way around. I wanted her to feel like she had that freedom to be herself on the recordings and she just filled up the whole room. Her singing was coming from this deeply rooted place of family and music and wanting to convey a beauty.”