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!