“MIKE FARRIS is MAGIC – The Rejuvenator! You gotta see it to believe it!” – Delbert McClinton
Nashville, Tenn. – Acclaimed Americana/Gospel artist Mike Farris’ new Entertainment One release, The Night The Cumberland Came Alive, debuts at #10 on the Billboard Blues Chart. The 6-song EP, released on October 26th, commemorates and celebrates the rebirth of Nashville, a city and its surrounding communities devastated by a “1,000 year” flood on May 1, 2010. Although short in length, it is not short on spirit, offering up “Farris’ trademark evangelical rock n’ roll,” as Steven Gaydos wrote recently in Variety.
The project was recorded just weeks after the flood, as the people of middle Tennessee regained their civic pride and rallied to help their neighbors and rebuild. The Night The Cumberland Came Alive features an all-star cast of musicians including: Sam Bush, Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart), Ketch Secor and Gill Landry from Old Crow Medicine Show, Byron House (Robert Plant), as well as Ann, Regina and Alfreda McCrary (The McCrary Sisters), Derrek Phillips and Eric Holt from Farris’ own Roseland Rhythm Revue.
The Night The Cumberland Came Alive, which Dustin Ogdin of No Depression called “some of the finest roots-rollicking soul and gospel you’re likely to ever hear,” rolls out a decidedly pre-war Americana sound while delivering a hopeful message of restoration.
“Stylistically, pre-war American music has long been a passion of mine,” Farris says of the project. “Before the flood, we’d been searching for songs that would evoke the struggle and the victory of the working class, a sound rising up out of flesh and bone, of spit and spirit. But then, as a city, we were hit square in the gut by this unbelievable flood. And that sound meshed with the spirit of resurrection we saw rise up all over this area. When we gathered in that historic church to lay it all down, what happened was beyond our imaginations.”
The title track’s lyrics deal directly with the flood, and Farris penned “Dear Lazarus” along with Ketch Secor just days before the recording. According to Mike, “Playing these songs—sight unseen, without so much as a lead sheet—and with such a dream team of musicians was the thrill of a lifetime. You can hear the passion. You can feel the love in the room. And I’m thrilled to release it to help this community get back on its feet.”
This release comes hot off the heels of Farris’ recent GMA Dove Award for Best Traditional Gospel album of the year for 2009’s SHOUT! Live, a sweat-drenched document of his Sunday Night Shout residency dates at the legendary Station Inn in Nashville. The EP is also a continuation of the musical and spiritual journey that Farris began with his 2007 release, Salvation In Lights, which contributed to him receiving the 2008 Americana Music Association’s New & Emerging Artist of the Year award. The music is steeped in traditions explored on that record and widens the lens of the American treasure that it represents – roots, gospel and blues.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the EP will be used to benefit the Downtown Presbyterian Church’s ministry to the homeless in Nashville, which seems fitting as the record was recorded in less than a day at that historic building.
Mike Farris is performing select dates to showcase the material on the EP in addition to performing monthly with The Roseland Rhythm Revue as part of his Sunday Night Shout residency at the Station Inn this fall. He is currently working on the full-length studio follow-up to Salvation In Lights, which is scheduled to release sometime in 2011. For more information, please visit www.mikefarrismusic.net.
Partial proceeds benefit flood relief and recovery efforts through the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund, a component fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, to help the region recover from the devastating floods of May 2010. The Community Foundation, a charitable organization enhancing the quality of life in Middle Tennessee, responds in times of disaster to connect generosity with the immediate and long-term needs of the community.
Entertainment One (LSE:ETO) is a leading international entertainment company that specializes in the acquisition, production and distribution of film and television content. The company’s comprehensive network extends around the globe including Canada, the U.S., the UK, Ireland, Benelux, France, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Through established Entertainment and Distribution divisions, the company provides extensive expertise in film distribution, television and music production, kids programming and merchandising and licensing. Its current rights library is exploited across all media formats and includes more than 20,000 film and television titles, 2,400 hours of television programming and 45,000 music tracks.
“The Night the Cumberland Came Alive brews up Farris’ trademark evangelical rock n’ roll.” – Steven Gaydos, Variety
“The gospel soul served up by Farris and the Cumberland Saints is a high-proof intoxicant that should come with a warning label: ‘May Result in Involuntary Convulsions, Consume with Caution.’ Even though the floodwaters have receded, you can still wash away your sins with some great music while supporting a very worthy cause. You should grab a copy because it is some of the finest roots-rollicking soul and gospel you’re likely to ever hear.” – Dustin Ogdin, No Depression
“Mike’s voice is equal parts Steve Winwood and Al Green poured over Southern Comfort… This one is sure to be another award-winner.” – Brad Hardisty, Performer Magazine
“When Mike Farris sings, the whole congregation sits up and listens. On rainy days the sun will always be shining in our hearts and souls whilst listening to this music.” – David Knowles, Maverick
“Farris sings with passion aplenty, his sometimes raspy Southern drawl able to reach soaring heights as his throaty wails fill the air. There is a lot to like about this album; one of 2010’s liveliest and most enjoyable listens.” – Brian Palmer, Glide Magazine