New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
23rd marks the 88th birthday of legendary performer and the "Father of Soul" Ray Charles. In honor of his memory and musical legacy, on September
14th The Band of Heathens released A Message From The People Revisited - an ambitious re-envisioning of Ray Charles' 1972 album A Message From The People in its entirety. Tracks like "Hey Mister" and "Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong" represented feelings of disenfranchisement and social discontent, while Charles' unsurpassed version of "America The Beautiful
" synthesized a spirit of hope and joy with the grit and fortitude that he saw everyday Americans increasingly relying upon to make it through a tumultuous era. The project is a tribute to both the musical genius of Charles, as well as his indelible ability to write and sing in a voice that spoke to all Americans during times of hardship and political division. Listen: The Band of Heathens - "Hey Mister"
The record has been warmly received by Rolling Stone Country Wide Open Country, Popmatters, The Boot, Whiskey Riff, and others. And upon first hearing it, musical legend Quincy
Jones (who is credited as an Arranger on the original album) exclaimed, "It's a great interpretation and I admire their spirit to give it to charity!"
The Band of Heathens' mission to spread the thoughtful, unifying message of Ray Charles' work has not come without its own challenges. Singer / Guitarist Gordy Quist writes, "Someone recently wrote to us and asked, 'Is Hey Mister a song against President Trump? Yes or No?' When I started thinking about a response to this, and about how many different politicians this song could be aimed at today, I started realizing how the wording of the question is one of the main problems we're trying to address with the message of this album. The phrasing of the question is set up to divide. It's Us vs Them. No need for a dialogue or an open mind. Just Yes or No."
Quist continues, "As Ray Charles
sang on this original album, 'There'll be no Peace without all men as one.' As Americans I believe we're more similar than we are different in what we want for our families now and for our children in the future. My hope is that this music will move us all towards true dialogue; that it will move us to treat each other with respect; and that it will move us to take part in the electoral process regardless of who you vote for. Your voice must be heard. That's what A Message From the People Revisited is about."
A Message From The People Revisited is available for purchase HERE. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Rock The Vote.