An important part of Little Faith’s musical mission is honoring the musical contributions of those who came before us and perpetuating their legacies. Every year, we lose more of our heroes, and in 2014 Joe Sample, Gerald Wilson, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Ruffin, Jack Bruce, Johnny Winter, Bobby Womack, Phil Everly and Mickey Champion were among those who passed on. But the loss of one Los Angeles musician has hit us harder than most this year. Little Faith and the entire LA music community is still heartbroken over the passing of Mark Tortorici in October. The overwhelming outpouring of love at the memorial held for Mark demonstrated the size of his heart and the reach of his embrace. All of us were warmed by his bear hug and touched by his generous soul.

Mark was the first music promoter to understand that our mix of traditional spirituals, roots gospel and soul music would play in the swing dance and rockabilly venues he booked. His faith in what we were doing gave us a platform from which we were able to launch Little Faith and build a lasting following.  After the first show Mark booked us on, I wasn’t so sure. “I don’t think your crowd gets what we’re doing,” I told him.  “You’re right, they don’t,” he said. “But keep doing it because it hits them in their souls and makes them happy.”  Only someone who loved music as much as Mark did could come to that conclusion.

We loved making music for Mark as well as with him, and we were proud to feature his harmonica playing on our “Shelter” CD.  In his memory, there’s a free download of “Rising in Memphis” with Mark’s solo at:  http://littlefaithmusic.com/music/

Mark Tortorici set the bar as a roots music promoter, and we’d like to recognize a handful of other music lovers who also “get it” and without whom,  a lot of us wouldn’t have an audience to play for. Steve Camera of Hip Kitty in Claremont understands how to bring good music and engaged audiences together.  Suzanne O'Keefe, whose Honky Tonk Hacienda series at El Cid always features strong talent and great crowds, has an open-minded booking policy that puts the quality of the music above genre labels. Cevin Clark at Harvelle’s knows that consistently good music provides a venue with its own following. Cadillac Zack goes above and beyond to bring the best blues artists to LA, but isn’t afraid to feature an act like Little Faith on his stages. Same goes for Jan and Jerry McWhorter, whose labors of love keep music thriving in Ventura.  We are grateful for the hard work and creativity of these people.

Thanks also to the Lummis Day Festival, Youbloom Festival, Hope Lutheran Church, Yorba Linda Presbyterian, Agape International Spiritual Center, Bliss Bowen of Pasadena Weekly and Bruce Ball for their dedication to music. Shout outs to Larry Fox of KSPC, whose jazz radio policy also welcomes gospel music, to Pat Baker on KCSN and Gary Baca of KPFK, Emmit Powell at KPFA and to the more than 200 radio shows nationwide who have been playing Little Faith’s music.  Love to Steve Elowe, Craig Ferguson, Anthony King, Bill Barrett, Jerry Watts, Johnny Z, Linda, Chantelle and James McCrary, Jimmi Mayweather, Nick Agee, Jeff Moxley and Ray Woods for helping us make this music. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who comes to hear us and to those who show their appreciation.  As we move into 2015, we look forward with pride to the release of “Eternity”, our new album produced by Michael Baker (Whitney Houston, Joe Zawinul now touring with Annie Lennox).  We honor those who let music hit them in their souls, and we promise to keep aiming our music at that spot. Above all, we honor the memory of Mark Tortorici, who taught us how.

Whole lotta news.  The official release date for the new record is October 1. Titled "Shelter", the CD features more traditional hymns and spirituals, some old gospel songs and a few 60's covers done gospel style. Also on October 1, we're playing Ronnie Mack's Barn Dance.  An LA institution, Ronnie Mack has been showcasing roots music once a month since 1988, and has featured a who's who of country, rockabilly, bluegrass and more. Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart, the Blasters, Rosie Flores and the list goes on. Little Faith is honored and thrilled to be bringing a little church to the dance, held at Joe's Great American, 4311 Magnolia Blvd Burbank and it's FREE.  We're thrilled some more to be playing the Eagle Rock Music Festival on Saturday October 6 on Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock.  The ERMF is in its 14th year and attracted more than 100,000 last year. Little Faith is on at 4:00pm on the stage at the Filipino American Church. Suggested donation is $10, and that gets you the whole festival. 70 acts, 10 stages.

We're starting to mix the new LITTLE FAITH CD, titled "Shelter".  Lots of vocals on this one and a wealth of great material, from traditional spirituals to classic gospel to contemporary "message" songs.  In case you haven't been getting our reminders, we're at Viva Cantina every Sunday for a while, from 1:00 til 3:00 in the afternoon, perfect for after church or late brunch. We've been busy with other projects, too. Guitarist Nelson Blanton just finished recording guitars for the new Billy Ray Cyrus record. Drummer Jesper Kristensen has been on tour with Wilson Phillips and guitar legend Pete Anderson. Vocalist Nadia Duggin was recently in Mexico with Mass Ensemble. Singer Ray Wolffe is finishing production on the debut album of country rock band 5th And Birmingham and organist Jack Maeby wrote horn arrangements for Portland-based Kasey Anderson and the Honkies' new CD. Busy, but we've been fortunate to have the services of drummer Jim Martin and guitarist Craig Ferguson. Craig plays some high flying pedal steel on the new album, too. 

We'll be appearing at Ernest Troost's Juke Joint Gang series again on May 5th at the Talking Stick in Venice. We're looking at early June for the record release, details about a release party coming soon. Love, Peace and Keep the Faith!

We're busy these days. In addition to recording a new album at Ray Wolffe's studio, we have the following live shows coming up:

February 19:  Private Mardi Gras Party/Crawfish Boil! Beads and mudbugs for all.

February 25: Viva Cantina, as specials guests of Viva's favorite country rock band, 5th & Birmingham. We're looking forward to sharing the bill with these exciting young talents! 900 Riverside Dr, Burbank 9:00-Midnight. No cover!

February 26, Joe's Great American. Sundays are Blues Nights at Joe's and we're all about bringing some soulful church to the blues crowd. 4311 Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, 8:30-11:00, no cover.

March 4, Viva Cantina, Gospel Music Sunday, 7:00-9:00

Coming soon: Gospel Brunch at Viva. Your church can take part in Viva's gospel brunch discount and Little Faith welcomes singers and musicians from the worship band at your church. Message us on this site if you want to get involved.

LITTLE FAITH leads off the Patch highlights video of the Eagle Rock Music Festival: http://eaglerock.patch.com/blog_posts/patch-blog-eagle-rock-music-festival-sampler-video

The Alternate Root, an interactive roots music magazine has picked LITTLE FAITH  as a Featured Artist of the Week.  Go to http://www.thealternateroot.com/alternate-root-weekly-features/alternate-root-artists-of-the-week to read a short review and get a free download of "Wade In The Water".

Here's a link to Smart Choice Music, the  distributor of LITTLE FAITH'S "Spirituals" in the UK.  Great stuff on their site!  http://www.smartchoicemusic.com/mailorder/Spirituals-pr-7960.html

 

 

2010 can’t be over soon enough, yet oddly, I find myself feeling thankful.  Thankful that, despite the still-faltering economy, the persistent greed and hate that continues to steer legislation in the US, the mindless killing taking place in conflicts too numerous to pin down—some good took place in the last 12 months.  Healthcare reform (hopefully), the end of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, steps toward reining in Wall Street, the ongoing process of a greener economy.  It ain’t much, and the good didn’t outweigh the bad, but progress is progress.

On a personal level, I’m especially thankful that we got Little Faith off the ground—thankful for the folks who made the music and those who inspired it. This project has been simmering on my back burner for a few years, the product of a love of traditional spirituals, all shades of gospel music and the music native to New Orleans.  Although I’m not religious or a member of any particular faith or church, I firmly believe that music at its best is communication on a spiritual level.  I believe that there are universal truths in all religions that music can help reveal.

We got the record tracked, mixed, pressed and on the air.  We’re being played on jazz stations, gospel stations, Triple A and college outlets.  Although we barely got the album out before the end of the year, “Spirituals” made at least one Best of 2010 list.  We have distribution in the UK (thanks, Carol and Ian) and the album is selling on CD Baby and Itunes.  We’ve had some inquiries about film and TV placement.  We’re keeping the CD price and door charges low because we want to share this music with as many people as we can.

Specific thanks go out to: Ralph at the Bayou Café and Bailey at the Burbank Moose Lodge for giving us stages.  Nelson Blanton and Paul Vitolins for being the musical heart of the band, Leah Zeger and James King for injecting soul into the solos; Mike Fox for his wisdom and ear, Rich McCulley for his musical and technical touch, Maggie Malyn , Steve Hopkins and John Knowles for bringing the spirit, Bernie Mulleda for making me wish we’d taped the Bayou show, Ted MacKenzie and Howie Brown for making us sound good on short notice, Billie Harris for providing a living musical bridge to a generation of musicians who gave birth to much of the music we love.

Thanks to Greg Rasheed, The Gospel Train, KUVO, Jimmy Barrett at WVCR, Chris Wienk at WEXT, Kevin Daley in Denver, Scott Macpherson in Albany.

Moving into 2011, I’m thoughtful.  Filled with thoughts and hopes for the future and for Little Faith.  Planning more live gigs that fit with the spirit of the band and the record, looking for the right venues—churches, concert stages and maybe a few bars and clubs, but only those that allow us to carry out our musical mission. Anyone who has ideas, don’t be shy about putting them forth.  Given the inspiration and direction of the music, I’m looking toward Mardi Gras to do something big.

In the long run, I want Little Faith to be part of something greater.  Playing spirituals goes hand in hand with spreading hope and love. We’re open to participating in any and all good-hearted ventures. Let’s feed the hungry, get out the vote, heal the planet, get kids involved in music, help bring people together.  I don’t know about all of you, but I long for a world in which our children and their children can flourish without all the hate and divisiveness.

Finally, I’m filled with faith, not the blind dogmatic kind, but a faith in the basic decency in folks everywhere, a belief that the only darkness is ignorance and that the light shines for all.  I’m filled with a faith that knows that helping the unemployed is more important than cash for the wealthiest Americans, that each of us has the right to marry and raise a family.  I’ve been making music for a very long time, and I’ve seen what the power of music can do.  To me, Little Faith is more than a band or an album concept, it’s a living, growing musical force. If you’ve received this message, it’s because you’ve shown some interest in or appreciation for what we’re doing. We want your input and your involvement. If you haven’t visited the web site, take a minute and go to littlefaithmusic.com.  Listen to a track or two, watch some video or leave us a note. Maybe buy a CD if you haven’t already.  Come hear us play and let us know what you think. We plan on being around for a while.  Happy 2011!

Jack

Littlefaithmusic.com

"Spirituals" is getting airplay on both coasts! Jazz station KUVO in Denver has been spinning tracks (check out "The Gospel Train" on Sunday at 9:00am Mountain Time, 11:00 Eastern, 10:00 PST) Listen at: http://www.kuvo.org/index.php?s=94 

WEXT in Upstate NY and WVCR in Albany also spinning. Listen to an interview and some tracks on WVCR's Kaleidoscope, 6-8 PM Saturday 11/20, WVCR.com, 88.3 FM Albany NY.  The live show/CD release at Bayou Cafe is their live pick of the week!

Nice review of the CD at Nippertown! http://www.nippertown.com/2010/11/18/cd-little-faiths-spirituals#more-40442

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