Mike Farris Gives Us Silver & Stone

Read about ‘Silver & Stone’ the new outing from Mike Farris

Mike Farris

 

 Mike Farris is coming of a Grammy win for his last release – 2015’s Shine For  All The  People (for Best Roots Gospel album).

Farris reportedly keeps it earthy and personal on his new release Silver & Stone, out September 7 on Compass Records.  The title refers to his wife, Julie’s wedding ring, and the album is a celebration of their twenty-three years of marriage and her steadfastness in sticking by him through his years struggling with addiction and alcoholism.

Now sober for seven years, Farris appears to have the energy and conviction of a man saved.  Listening Through The Lens caught two Farris performances in 2016, both in Bristol astride the Tennessee and Virginia State Line.  There he seemed to be in a place of calm and possessing a clarity on following his musical instincts.

Produced at Compass Sound Studio in Nashville by the label’s co-founder Garry West, Silver & Stone finds Farris imbuing his songs with a vibey, lighthearted feel, returning to his roots as a rocker and soul singer.  The album weaves through the traditions of American music the way that Tennessee born and bred Farris has done expertly throughout his twenty five year career.

The studio band employed by Farris on the new album is a mouth-watering one.  It includes famed “Memphis Boy” Gene Chrisman (Dusty Springfield, Elvis Presley, Dan Auerbach) sharing drum duties with Derrek Phillips (Robben Ford, Hank Williams Jr.), keyboardists Reese Wynans (Joe Bonamassa, Double Trouble) and long-time Farris collaborator Paul Brown (Waterboys, Ann Peebles), guitarists Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, John Hiatt), Rob McNelly (Delbert McClinton) and George Marinelli (Bonnie Raitt) with Steve Mackey (Wallflowers, Delbert McClinton) and producer West splitting bass duties.

Farris is quick to credit the crew in the band for putting their modern spin on classic grooves and progressions.  The band was given just enough structure so they could add their own flavour.  Among the album’s many features across the twelve tracks is Joe Bonamassa‘s searing solo on “Movin’ Me”, a tasteful cover of Bill Withers’ “Hope She’ll be Happier” and the soul and blues groove of originals “Tennessee Girl”, “Are You Lonely For Me Baby?” and “Can I Get a Witness”.

Melding the spiritual and the earthly, Farris says the album is about “reaching something better without actually trying”  This sentiment drives “Golden Wings”, written for his son, Christian, at “a pivotal point in his life, with so many options in front of him. That feeling of ‘Where am I supposed to be?’”

Farris told Rolling Stone Country. “It’s one of those songs that just flowed out after I did an exercise where you write a letter to your younger self. It has a dual message— something to say to a young person who is looking for answers, but also a reminder to myself to be free and open to the possibilities of life.”

Another Farris composition, “When Mavis Sings” hits equally close to his heart.  Over his years as a performer, he’s had the privilege of becoming close to legendary singer and gospel icon Mavis Staples.  He says, “Mavis is everything you want your heroes to be” Julie Farris elaborates, “She calls him ‘Mikey’”.  The song is actually a history lesson on Mavis’ life, as it’s completely comprised of literal tidbits of her life.

“I wanted to explore that upbringing, being in that neighborhood with all of these luminaries and absorbing that music,” he says. “It was exciting to watch all the pieces come together and fit lyrically.”

“It’s the most essential, yet most difficult, part of faith,” Farris says.  “Remembering to open up and allow the universe to have its way with you and your gifts. Be open and free to the possibilities of life.”

 

Here’s the clip for one of the new songs “Golden Wings”:

 

 

Silver & Stone Track List:

1. Tennessee Girl

2. Are You Lonely For Me Baby?

3. Can I Get a Witness?

4. Golden Wings

5. Let Me Love You Baby

6. Hope She’ll Be Happier

7. Snap Your Fingers

8. Breathless

9. Miss Somebody

10. When Mavis Sings

11. Movin’ Me

12. I’ll Come Running Back To You

 

 

Mike Farris Tour Dates:

 

Aug 18 – Saugerties, NY – Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex

Aug 23 – Chattanooga, TN – Songbirds

Aug 24 – Lexington, KY – Willie’s Locally Known

Aug 25 – Knoxville, TN – Open Chord Music

Aug 26 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre

Aug 27 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall

Aug 28 – Charleston, SC – Queen Street Playhouse

Sep 6 – Buford, GA – Buford Community Center

Sep 8 – Franklin, TN – Franklin Theatre

Sept 14 – Nashville, TN AMERICANAFEST

Sep 17 + 18 – Penticton, BC – The Dream Café

Sep 20 – Salt Spring Island, BC – PitchFork Social

Sep 21 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door

Sep 22 – Victoria, BC – University Centre Farquhar Auditorium

Sep 28 – Franklin, NC – Franklin Town Square Gazebo

Nov 03 – Moab, UT – Moab City Baseball Field

Nov 29 – Stoughton, WI – Stoughton Opera House

 

Read about ‘Silver & Stone’ the new outing from Mike Farris

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Author: Rob Dickens

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