Amy Helm goes for spontaneous vibe on new album

amy Helm interview

Amy Helm performs at the Hackensack Performing Arts Center, Feb. 2.

Amy Helm recently appeared on the WFDU-FM’s “Morning Dew” program, to talk about her upcoming shows (including her Feb. 2 appearance at the Hackensack Performing Arts Center), her second solo album, This Too Shall Light (released in September), and more.

She recorded This Too Shall Light in Los Angeles with producer Joe Henry; the songs on it range from Rod Stewart’s “Mandolin Wind” to the traditional “Gloryland” and “Heaven’s Holding Me,” which Helm, Henry and others co-wrote. The album has a strong gospel/roots flavor and a loose, spontaneous feel.

“That was really Joe’s idea,” Helm told “Morning Dew.” “He wanted to make a record that was truly spontaneous (with) songs and arrangements kind of hunted down in the moment. So we went for exactly that. In fact he told me, before I went out there … his one instruction to me was to not spend much time with the songs at all. So I purposely did not put them in the setlist for any of the months of touring that I had leading up to recording the record, so that when it came time to play the song, and I stepped up to the mic, I was kind of discovering it and grabbing at it for the first time, which was scary, but interesting, and exciting.

“It made it a very different experience for recording, I have to say. Without a net, and also without that physical familiarity that you get with a song, as a singer … You know, if you sing something, even 20 gigs down the road, a song is going to morph and change. It’s going to be more familiar, and you’ll be more confident with your delivery of it … And so, to approach a whole album without that confidence of really knowing a song was a challenge, but a really interesting one.”

You can listen to the entire interview, below.

Helm performs at the Hackensack Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Feb. 2; visit


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