Friday, February 15, 2008

Mike Farris...Salvation In Lights....PRAISE GOD!!!!!

Folks, go immediately to and check out his Salvation In Lights cd. Let me tell you, this man is THE REAL DEAL. Old time gospel the way gospel was meant to sound. The song "Streets of Galilee" should not only be nominated for a Grammy, but should win hands down for Best Gospel Song. Here is a little background about Mike Farris.

From his website bio at "I finally said, 'I think it's time for me to take those traditional, turn-of-the-century songs and add these things I'm writing that sound like that, and just go with it; this is what I want to do,'" he says. "It became real clear to me."

Now, original songs like "Devil Don't Sleep" and "Streets of Gallilee" serve as much as to remind Farris of where he's been as they do to encourage his listeners. By doing so, they forge a bond between audience and performer, even as they connect him to a rich tradition of spirituality that runs through American folk, gospel, soul and rock.

"If not for the grace of God I would surely be dead or wishing I were dead." Farris says. "My life is a testament that God has an unique and special place for everyone. God will use people no matter how tattered and torn. Just surrender to His love and trust in His grace."

Let me tell ya my brothers and sisters as long as Mike Farris is traveling The Gospel Highway it will never shut down.

Now next week A little about The Dixie Hummingbirds,

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Blind Boys of Alabama meet The Soul Stirrers

One of the first groups to start traveling The Gospel Highway were The Blind Boys of Alabama. The Blind Boys of Alabama are a gospel group from Alabama that first formed at the Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939. The three main vocalists and drummer/percussionist are all blind. As of 2007, they are still performing, and are likewise scheduled to continue touring through 2008. Two of the original members, vocalists Jimmy Carter and Clarence Fountain, remain with the group.

Another group to forge ahead on The Gospel Highway were The Soul Stirrers
. The Soul Stirrers were pioneers in the development of the quartet style of gospel and, without intending it, in the creation of soul music, the secular music that owed much to gospel. The group — and all of its members — were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 as one of rock's Early Influences, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000.

These are just a few groups who were influential in blazing the trail for others on The Gospel Highway. Many of these groups did not know that each other were traveling to these churches and later, high school auditoriums. Once they started meeting each other, they started traveling in caravans and multiple act bills to help defray the costs of the traveling.

The travels were difficult and times were lean. But, according to Jim Crow America by Earl Conrad there was only four ways for an African American to be his own boss:
1) Own an insurance parlor selling only to an all African American client el.
2) Own a barber shop catering to an all
African American client el.
3) Own a restaurant
catering to an all African American client el.
4) By being a minstrel or musician or circus performer.
Many of these traveling gospel quartets found their financial and cultural freedom by choosing this last option. This is where The Gospel Highway truly begins.

See ya next time when we discuss The Legendary Dixie Hummingbirds,