Amy Helm may have gotten her start in her father’s group, Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Band, as well as the folk collective Ollabelle, but it took the release of What The Flood Leaves Behind to really spotlight her power as a singer.
Across 10 tracks blending Americana, folk, and hints of blues, on her third solo effort, Helms turns in her most consistently satisfying record yet, a cohesive collection of songs about reflection and appreciation that tops anything the singer has done so far. The album kicks off with “Verse 23,” a track whose chorus boasts the album title, a remarkably powerful song hinting at what’s to follow on the record, like the swamp organ-drenched slow burn blues number “Calling Home” or the stellar “Cotton and Cane,” a track Helm has been playing live for years now.
To record this one, Helm came back home to Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, New York. “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,” Helms says. “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.”
Whether it was recording in that environment, simply growing as a singer and a songwriter, or a combination of both, the result is Helm’s strongest album yet.