Beverley Knight contributed vocals to Annie Lennox's record Sing, and had recently recorded her next album with Dave Stewart for his Bay Street Records label.
On the eve of her sell out 2006 UK tour (which followed the quarter of a million selling hits album, Voice, that had entered the UK Top 10 six months earlier) UK Soul Queen Beverley Knight stepped on a plane to record what is surely the album of her career so far. That 6 day trip to Southern USA to record a collection of songs written and demod in London over the preceding months, resulted in an electric session and an album the like of which 34 year old Wolverhamptoner Knight has been waiting her 12 year career to record.
Knight arrived in Nashville and met the albums producer Mark Nevers, who produced 2006s critically acclaimed Candi Staton album. We had talked through the songs several times over the phone says Knight who was sending him through demos as they were written through the summer with the likes of Guy Chambers, Eg White, Jimmy Hogarth and Martin Brammer but meeting him in the flesh I knew this album was going to be amazing. To be able to record live in a session in Marks little southern style house-cum-studio in Music City was a dream come true. Then when I met the musicians and discovered that Jim the guitarist had played with Elvis and Derek the pianist played with Al Green I knew it was going to be really special. We did most songs so much in just one take it just felt so right.
After a couple of days rehearsing and getting to know the background singers (who went to the same church as Whitney Houston) they were ready for the session. They blasted through 12 songs in 3 days. Hammond and piano in the living room, 3 BVs in the corridor, rhythm section in the conservatory and Beverley in the middle in a DIY vocal booth. Ive spent a long time wishing I could essentially do a whole album one producer and the same musicians and thereby capture what I do live on stage - with Music City Soul I think Ive done that. No bells, no whistles, just fine musicians, great songs and outstanding singing.
Her 12 years in the industry speak for themselves. Knight is a survivor - still standing still growing while many who emerged at the same time as her in the mid nineties - some surrounded by far more hype have come and gone. Beverley Knights awesome voice has featured on a catalogue of hits spanning the 12 years since her club classic debut, Flavour of the Old School, burst onto the burgeoning UK urban scene of 1995. In fact the 12 Top 40 hits contained on last years Voice The Best of Beverley Knight neatly chart the development of her talents as a vocalist and songwriter over a decade that saw many styles, come and go. Voice entered the charts in the Top 10 in March 2006, has been certified gold (her fourth gold album for Parlophone) and sold more than a quarter of a million copies.
The opening single of that collection of hits Beverleys interpretation of Janis Joplins classic Piece of My Heart, was the first seed of this new album. Why that song? Well, I was first invited to sing it on stage with Ronnie Wood early last year and that gave me the idea to do it on the tour. I also knew the organic approach to the recording was a great signpost to what I was about to record for Music City Soul, so it made perfect sense. says Knight.