When tourists visit Memphis, they might spend the day soaking in the music history. But when musicians make "the pilgrimage" to a famed recording studio, it's about finding the groove. Just ask U.K. recording artist Emily Barker.
Though born in a small town in western Australia, Barker still had the Memphis blues. At least, once in a while. An annual hometown blues festival gave her a taste of that southern U.S. sound. When the singer-songwriter started her own musical journey, it was the folksy "Americana" style that infused her music.
Last year, she got in touch with Grammy-winning Memphis producer Matt Ross-Spang, who got his own start on vintage equipment at Sun Studio and now works at Sam Phillips Recording Service on Madison Ave. Ross-Spang assembled a group of studio regulars who would shape the sound of Barker's new record.
"I would play them a song on my guitar or on the piano and one of them would inevitably go 'Okay, what's the groove on this one?' she laughs. "And I guess that's what, you know, is the staple part of the Memphis sound. It's all about the groove. So there's no way I could have got that sound anywhere else, I don't think, other than Memphis."
Today, "Sweet Kind of Blue" is available online and in stores. Listen above to hear how working with Ross-Spang at Sam Phillips Recording affected her music.