Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amy Helm is a regular face at the Fayetteville Roots Festival. The daughter of Arkansas legend and The Band member Levon Helm, she's also a favorite in the Natural State, period, as she continues to grow the family musical legacy.
Helm is back in Fayetteville on Sunday for a street performance as part of the ROOTS HQ on the Avenue series in downtown Fayetteville. The intimate concert series has been reconnecting music lovers and musicians with shows on Mountain Street, just outside the festival's headquarters and in the city's Outdoor Recreation Area.
"We all need as much music as we can get right now; hopefully that helps people feel lighter with the experience of this past year," Helm offers.
To that end, fans will soon have Helm's new release to turn to as they look ahead, reestablishing "normal" and moving past the hurt wrought by the pandemic. "What the Flood Leaves Behind," recorded in January of last year, is Helm's third solo album and was produced by Josh Kaufman (Taylor Swift's "Folklore," Bob Weir, Bonny Light Horseman). It will release June 18.
"This album is very different from my last album, as I co-wrote or wrote a majority of the material," she says comparing the new release to "This Too Shall Light." "So I think the criteria was less about finding songs with a certain quality of vibe or groove, and more about sculpting the storytelling this time around. Josh is excellent at keeping the song, the arrangements and the playing clear and honest. Making this album was pure fun!"
Helm has done a handful of shows prior to her ROOTS HQ appearance, but admits she is still very much "feeling and understanding the emotional impact of this silent year we've all walked through."
"So far, it has felt emotional and also profoundly joyful," she shares. "During the lockdown, I did curbside delivery of songs to people's front lawns. That was very heavy, and a humble reminder of how much we all need to connect and relate to one another. I'm very excited to be back with people and to have the song as the conversation."
-- Jocelyn Murphy
ROOTS HQ on the Avenue:
WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE — 1 E. Mountain St. in Fayetteville
COST — $35; limited tickets remain at publication
INFO — fayettevilleroots.org, amyhelm.com