THIS IS HOME
By her own admission, Amy Black was a late bloomer as a musician. In her mid-30s, she released her first album, 2009’s “Amy Black and the Red Clay Rascals,” a collection of mostly cover renditions of folk and country standards. Her own songwriting voice emerged two years later on “One Time,” which made her an artist to watch (and hear) in the local roots music community.
“This Is Home,” though, is another beast altogether. Released earlier this week, the album finds Black, who lives in Somerville, fully in charge — of her voice, her songs, her backing musicians.
Black grew up in Missouri and Alabama before coming to Boston in her teens, but she was slow to mine her Southern heritage until last year’s “The Muscle Shoals Session,” an EP that took her to FAME studio in Alabama to work with legendary players such as Spooner Oldham.
“This Is Home” picks up where that album left off, and the new direction coaxes a sultry confidence from Black that was never apparent on previous records. The opening stomp and sway of “Nobody Knows You” puts an R&B spin on her brand of Americana, and the bluesy swagger of “Old Hurt” takes a less-is-more approach: She slays you by being sly. Recorded in Nashville with just the right amount of polish from producer Lex Price, “This Is Home” suggests that Black might have gotten a late start, but few artists find their footing as fast as she did. (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “Nobody Knows You”
Amy Black plays at Johnny D’s in Somerville with Shannon McNally on Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Tickets: $15. 617-776-2004, www.ticketweb.com