Penguin Eggs

Friday, 14 December 2018 14:47

Mike Farris

Written by Eric Rosenbaum
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Silver and Stone (Compass Records)

Are you in a bad mood? Silver and Stone is the cure. If you’re not smiling as the sax solo on the opening track, Tennessee Girl, kicks in, you have a heart of stone.

Mike Farris’s rockin’, rootsy rhythm and blues recording is a collection of covers and originals and, frankly, it’s hard to tell which are which. They range from blues rockers to heart-breaking soul stirrers.

And, of course, there’s that voice. Oh my, Mike’s voice. Pick your adjective—powerful, soulful, soring, crisp, and clear. Farris easily keeps company with legendary soul singer such as Curtis Mayfield and Sam Cooke. Farris ends the record with a Cooke cover, I’ll Come Running Back To You.

Silver and Stone refers to a ring Farris gave his wife, who stood with him through his addiction and recovery, and there are certainly some love letters here. For example, the Al Green-influenced Movin’ Me, with a blistering wah-wah-soaked guitar solo courtesy of blues rock guitar show off Joe Bonamassa. Farris won a Grammy for Best Roots Gospel Album a few years ago, and while this is more secular fare, there are backing vocals suitable for Sunday at church plus plenty of organ swells, but mostly of the B3 variety.

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