The Band of Heathens (from the album A Message from the People Revisited available on BOH Records)
Upping the ante on tribute albums, The Band of Heathens present a track-by-track re-imagining of an entire Ray Charles recording on A Message from the People Revisited. The original release dates back to 1972, Ray Charles utilizing the power of song for then-current issues to inspire, encourage, and burn the flame bright for the cultural changes put in place by the 1960’s. The song arrangements trace lineage back to 1960/70 grooves with the funk of “Every Saturday Night”, the Folk sway in “Abraham, Martin, and John”, the Southern Soul of “Heaven Help Us All”, and the Country beat of “Take Me Home, Country Road”. The back story for A Message from the People Revisited comes from The Band of Heathens, the group telling that ‘in December 2017 we were working as a backing band on a variety of projects for other artists. The sessions were taking place at the Finishing School, a studio built by close friend, producer, and musical collaborator, George Reiff, who tragically succumbed to cancer in May ’17 after a 10-month fight. The studio had been dark since George’s passing. With the blessing of the Reiff family, the lights were turned back on and we went to work for a few weeks. The final four days of session time were blocked off for us to work on something of our own. A few weeks prior to the sessions it was collectively decided that we would use that time to take a shot at recording some of (whatever we could get to) A Message From The People. Working alongside our close friend (and George’s right-hand-man in the studio) Steve Christensen, there was a palpable vibration in the air. It was somber but also very peaceful. Our expectations were set low as we knew that doing any Ray Charles record justice was going to be a real challenge — let alone one with such lush arrangements’.
Staying as true to the mood of the album’s origins, The Band of Heathens put a passionate fire underneath “There’ll Be No Peace Without All Men as One”, take pride for homeland to church with “America the Beautiful”, strum shared disbelief for words getting misread in “Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma”, and stir the Blues around for “Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong”. A Message from the People Revisited addresses its mail to Washington, D.C. with “Hey Mister” as The Band of Heathens slowly raise the rhythm to match the call to action in “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
Listen and buy the music of The Band of Heathens from AMAZON