April 15, 2012
I didn’t write this song. But like most musicians, I wish I had. The melody was probably a slave chantey. Most of the words came from John Newton, an 18th century sea captain.
I wanted to emphasize some of the complex rhythms of the songs origins. And was lucky enough to have Ron Powell do the percussions on this track. Ron was just off tour with Kenny G or Diana Ross. What he can do with a drum is incredible.
Think of yourself in a slave ship, pounding on anything you can find to produce rhythms to accompany your song. And then sing along.
March 1, 2012
This song was written by blues legend Thomas A Dorsey. He helped found northern jazz, Chicago jazz.
After the death of his wife, Dorsey was devastated. She died given birth to their son, who died shortly after. I think you can still hear the pain he felt in his words: I am tired. I’m weak. I’m worn. [Read more]
July 10, 2011
I started thinking about Paul and Silas traveling through the country spreading the Good News. So I wrote a brief history of American gospel music from the 1800′s up til pre-WWII. So each song represents a different period of time.
I wrote this song in the middle of doing the album but the sentiment had been part of my life for years. I always started my sermons with “I’ve got Great News for you.” It kept me from giving a negative sermon. Cause you can’t start with Great News and then tell people they’re going to hell.
When I was a young pup, I tried to be a preacher like my Dad. Dad was a really good teacher-preacher. He had that preacher voice that was expected in those days but he was more concerned with presenting good theology than with jumping the pulpit in a single bound.
Being an evangelist is an easy gig, my Dad used to say. You work up 3 sermons and move from town to town. Every time you preach your sermons, you get better at it. And moving from town to town means everyone thinks you great; they never hear your 4th sermon.
This song is about two traveling preachers who roll into town in their wagon. It’s Paul and Silas. And they’ve got Good News.
It’s Good News for people in trouble. Good News for people in pain. Good News for everybody: Jesus is alive!