It’s in the quiet moments sprinkled deftly throughout his new album, SILVER & STONE
, that Mike Farris
reveals a previously hidden side of his singular instrument. His voice, widely known for its power and range, becomes a vessel for something more subtle but infinitely more rare and challenging to capture—the pure, authentic nature of returning to your roots. Musically, the album delves deep into Farris’ background with a wide range of influences, drawing as much from Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers as from Bon Scott and Steve Marriott. Farris’ larger-than-life vocals, straight out of the South, sharpened in the clubs of New York City, honed over a lifetime of collaboration and stage time with the likes of Patty Griffin, Patti Austin, Double Trouble, and his own Roseland Rhythm Revue, deliver not only the funky danceable blues-rock that draws audiences to his live shows but also a deeper insight into Farris’ hard-earned understanding of the complexities of the human condition.
On SILVER & STONE, Farris returns to his rock, soul and even country roots, making a break from the roots gospel he has been recognized for. (Farris’ previous album SHINE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE won a GRAMMY for Best Roots Gospel Record in 2015.) Though there are definite spiritual tones, the new album is more a celebration of the people who most intimately surround him. SILVER & STONE shows several different sides to Farris’ prodigious talent. On “Fingers Snaps” and “Are you Lonely For Me,” he shows his sense of fun and whimsy, while on Bill Withers’ “Hope She’ll Be Happier” he digs deep and delivers a performance rich in emotion and passion. On “Golden Wings,” one of several Farris originals on the album and the lead single, he explores the universal challenge of overcoming life’s obstacles and reaching beyond ourselves to find a place of compassion even in the midst of difficult circumstances. The album was produced by Compass Records co-founder Garry West and supported by a cast of top-flight musicians from across the Americana and soul spectrums including legendary drummer and ‘Memphis Boy’, Gene Chrisman, B3 master Reese Wynans (Double Trouble) and guitarists Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, John Hiatt) and Joe Bonamassa.