Having a residency is something that doesn’t happen very often in the Music City. It is said by some that playing here too often possibly could be a bad thing. Imagine that a place that goes by the name of Music City where an artist may distract their career by playing music. Well Mike Farris isn’t scared of said wives tales. He played a multi night residency at the famed Station Inn and his most recent album is the results of the phenomenal series of shows.
Compiled from the multiple night adventure, Shout! Live captures the heart and soul that Farris’ live shows evoke. Farris, in his own words, describes “church” as, “What happens when one or more people come together and talk about life, love, sin, grace – to let their guard down, to share their burdens-to meet face to face with the human condition.” That seems to be exactly what happened at the Station Inn over the four-night residency. “Selah! Selah!” finds the Roseland Rhythm Revue full-out rocking with the McCrary Sisters. Farris’ vocals boast a feeling of redemption and joyous spiritual renewal as he belts it out. On “Mary Don’t You Weep” things slow a bit, but definitely don’t stumble. A very tasty tickle of the ivory gets things moving as the dirty truth comes from Farris and the McCrary Sisters. Then a very Crescent City horn begins to swell in the background, followed by the rest of the second line as things head deep down south.
This is a hymn like you’ve never heard before. Uplifting-yet-filthy as things swing, juke jive and jump. “Sit Down Servant” motivates the tail to sway to booming horns and more ragtime piano. In fact, it is hard to believe that this is a record made in Nashville and not the Old Point in Algiers. “Devil Don’t Sleep” captures more swampy emotion. However this is more from deeply soulful blues guitar and Hammond. The often-covered “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” even takes on a new life. Heavenly vocals from Farris and the McCrary’s need little musical guidance. A simple drumbeat fills in, as the spiritual gets moving. The breathtakingly beautiful acapella version of the Fairfield Four’s “Dig A Little Deeper Down” offers up a nice change of pace to the party as the ladies take over and pay a little tribute to their father.
Whether or not you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, you will believe in the spirit of this music. The only downside of this album is the regret it may evoke for missing the four nights over which Shout! Live was recorded.
Shout! Live is out now on INO Records.