It seems like you’d have to do something very wrong to make a bad album at the venerable Alabama soul shack of FAME Studios — especially when you’re recording with Swampers and Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section mainstays like David Hood and Clayton Ivey (whose resumés are basically a list of Grammy winners and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members). Now, none of this is meant to suggest that Amanda St. John brings nothing to the table on this album (which is debuting in North America now after being released in her homeland last year). The veteran Belfast singer-songwriter is more than capable of holding her own on these 11 earthy, authentically old-school slices of southern-fried R&B and soul. But make no mistake; the setting, the sound and the session players are every bit as appealing as the star of the show.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Amanda St. John is a powerhouse singer and songwriter who is heavily inspired by soul, R&B and gospel music. Following in the footsteps of her idols Aretha Franklin and Etta James, Amanda (along with co-writer/guitarist Paul Tierney & co-writer/drummer/producer Michael Mormecha) travelled to the USA in May 2018 and made history by becoming the first independent Irish artist to record in the legendary FAME Studios, Muscle Shoals. Speaking of the experience she says: “We wanted the live room sound of this era of recordings and it was a dream come true being given the opportunity to record them in the legendary FAME Studios along with Swampers‘ bass player David Hood (whose credits include Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Percy Sledge, Paul Simon, Alicia Keys, etc) and piano/keys/Hammond player Clayton Ivey (Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Joss Stone, The Supremes, etc).”