Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mike Farris at The Ark

This is a happy happy day. Last night I saw Mike Farris with the Roseland Rhythm Revue and the McCrary Sisters perform at The Ark.

I bought Farris' CD Salvation in Lights almost two years ago at the end of an anniversary getaway weekend. We had the luxury of time, and we went to a music store for my honey and a bookstore for me. Somebody at the bookstore had the good sense to feature this disc at one of their listening stations. I put the headphones on, and was grabbed by Farris' voice from the moment he started singing 'oh no no no no'. The back up singers answered, 'sit down' and I thought, oh boy. When the band came in after that, I cast off my cheapness and grabbed back - snatched the last disc off of the shelf. When we took a listen in the truck, Paul looked at me and said, whoa, this is you.

It's blues and old time soul and New Orleans and spirituals and singer-songwriter with power vocals and right-on backup singers. I've had this disc for nearly two years and have not grown tired of it. I've been waiting to see him live all this time.

That is a lot of pressure to put on a performance.

All week I tried to keep my enthusiasm in check, but I couldn't help it and it didn't matter. The man and the band delivered to a small, loud and rollickingly happy house. At about the halfway point, I had the urge to go out onto the street and drag people out of their al fresco dining experiences and into the show. I love food, but this was better. Big sound, intimate space, great arrangements. I did not think 'Devil Don't Sleep Tonight' could be better than it is on the disc. Wrong. And how's about 'Soon I Will Be Done' as a part of the encore set showing off the great voices of the McCrary sisters? Oh oh oh. Incredible versions of 'A Change is Gonna Come' and 'I'll Take You There'.

A full-on, hand clappin', stompin'-swingin'-singin' good time. Mike Farris. Check him out!

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