What Do The Band Of Heathens and Ray Charles Have In Common?

Read about the new tribute to Ray Charles by The Band Of Heathens

Ed Jurdi, Band of Heathens



The Band of Heathens To Release

‘A Message From The People Revisited’

Homage To Ray Charles

New Track “America The Beautiful”



The Band Of Surprises??

The Band of Heathens has announced an ambitious new project, a re-envisioning of Ray Charles‘ 1972 album A Message From The People, in its entirety.  The band chose to re-record the often forgotten album because of its moving commentary on social justice, abuse-of-power, and its vision for a stronger, more-unified America.

Aptly titled A Message From The People Revisitedthe new release offers new takes on the original album’s ten tracks including “Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong,” “Heaven Help Us All,” “Hey Mister,” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” presented in The Band of Heathens‘ own voice while reportedly staying true to the weight, interpretation and tone of the originals.  Also included is a gospel-infused version of the first single “America The Beautiful,” which the group has just shared (on July 4) – see below.

A Message From The People Revisited will be released in September 2018.

Listen to “America The Beautiful”:




Remarking on the power of Charles’ 1972 version of the song, the band notes that: “Ray saved for us his most powerful message and the perfect coda; the definitive version of ‘America The Beautiful’ is absolutely glorious.  It is quite simply the apotheosis of soul.”

The group was moved to record their own version of A Message From The People after listening to the album while on tour together in 2017.  “We were on the road somewhere in New England when the topic of conversation drifted toward the troubled social climate in the country,” writes the band. “We related similar experiences with how divisiveness was affecting those around us, how families were being torn apart over political and social issues.”

To lighten the mood the group turned to music and an out-of-print Ray Charles album which immediately spoke to their sense of unease and discontent.  “With the first notes of the opening track “Lift Every Voice And Sing”, Ray had our undivided attention.  Often referred to as the Black National Anthem, Ray’s genius is in full flight from the get-go, singing with incredible jubilation and hope, hitting us like a ton of bricks.  It seemed to us as if Ray Charles was speaking to us and the issues of today, from the past.”

The group soon decided that the soulful message of unity and perseverance in the album deserved to be shared again with modern listeners, and got to work at The Finishing School Recording studio in Austin TX with producer Steve Christensen.  The results were striking in the group’s ability to capture the energy and feeling of urgency that permeates Charles’ landmark album.  Upon first hearing A Message From The People Revisitedmusical legend Quincy Jones (who is credited as an arranger on the original album) exclaimed, “It’s a great interpretation and I admire their spirit to give it to charity!”

Proceeds from the record will be donated to Rock the Vote, in an effort to amplify the voice of the people.

Last year, The Band of Heathens made a giant leap with its full length album Duende the band’s fifth studio album (and eighth overall), and marked their twelfth anniversary as a group.  That collection landed on Rolling Stone’s top 50 Americana and Country Albums of 2017.



Read about the new tribute to Ray Charles by The Band Of Heathens

Read about the new tribute to Ray Charles by The Band Of Heathens


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Author: Rob Dickens

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