The Carnegie Hall Mainstage Performance Series continues with soulful singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amy Helm on Friday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hamilton Auditorium. Masks are required.
Multiple Grammy Awards winner Amy Helm will be out promoting her third album, What the Flood Leaves Behind. It is her most autobiographical yet, both in content and creation. Out now on Renew Records/BMG, the album’s 10 songs represent a gathering of ideas and experiences, friends and collaborators. Yet, the album also marks a landing – a pause for the traveling musician and mother of two young boys who was seeking clarity in her calling and career.
After making multiple albums and performing in far-flung places, Helm returned home to Woodstock’s Levon Helm Studios – casually known as The Barn – just before the pandemic to record What the Flood Leaves Behind and reclaim a sense of self.
The Barn became what Helm calls “the tuning fork” for the record – an ethereal, elemental component that helped her and musicians Phil Cook (keys, harmonica), Michael Libramento (bass, organ, percussion), Tony Mason (drums), Daniel Littleton (guitar), Stuart Bogie (saxophone), Jordan McLean (trumpet), and her son Lee Collins (congas) summon courage and comfort.
Additionally, musical polyglot Josh Kaufman (Taylor Swift, The National, Muzz, Bonny Light Horseman) produced and contributed on piano, guitar, and mandolin. Their immediate musical connection helped guide Helm’s powerful, emotive vocals to the forefront of the album.
“We tried to make it about her voice and about the musicians responding to her and not the other way around,” explains Kaufman. “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.”
In particular, “Verse 23,” the track from which the album title is derived, that encapsulates the themes of What the Flood Leaves Behind. Written by M.C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger), the song serves as a sort of “reckoning,” says Helm, “of the good and the bad and everything in between.”
Throughout the record, Helm sings stories of life’s relentlessness. But like she extrapolates from “Verse 23,” the most productive, and often the most healing response, is to create. As a result, What the Flood Leaves Behind serves as a defiant form of self-expression, as Helm steps fully into her own light.
The newly renovated Hamilton Auditorium’s HVAC system is equipped with MERV13 filters and has an air exchange ratio or 7-8 times per hour per air handler (there are two) within the auditorium. An economizer has been added which allows the space to draw 100% outside air as opposed to recycling ambient air should the need arise.
Tickets for the mainstage performance start at $32 and discounts are available for Carnegie Hall members, students, senior citizens, and military. To purchase tickets, call Carnegie Hall Box Office at 304-645-7917, visit www.carnegiehallwv.org, or stop by at 611 Church Street, Lewisburg. The Carnegie Hall Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
For more information on What the Flood Leaves Behind or Amy Helm visit www.amyhelm.com.