Mike Farris review…April 10, 2019….

MIKE FARRIS

SILVER AND STONE

COMPASS RECORDS  74718 2

TENNESSEE GIRL–ARE YOU LONELY FOR ME BABY–CAN I GET A WITNESS?–GOLDEN WINGS–LET ME LOVE YOU BABY–HOPE SHE’LL BE HAPPIER–SNAP YOUR FINGERS–BREATHLESS–MISS SOMEBODY–WHEN MAVIS SINGS–MOVIN ME–I’LL COME RUNNING BACK TO YOU

The first thing you cannot help but notice about Winchester native Mike Farris is that incredible voice that lit up the rock pantheon back in the 90’s as lead singer for the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies.  He battled addiction during these years, but is now not only clean and sober, but also a born-again Christian.  His fourth overall album, :Shine For All The People,” from 2015, resulted in a Grammy win, and his latest, “Silver And Stone,” is equally as impressive.

Mike assembled a literal “Who’s Who” of Nashville session men for this project.  Mike is on vocals and acoustic guitar, with Rob McNelly, Doug Lancio, Bart Walker, and Blues Award-winning Joe Bonamassa on the other guitars.  On keys, there is Paul Brown, Mark T. Jordan, and the inimitable Reese Wynans, and Jim Hoke and Rahsaan Barber are on sax, along with a host of other luminaries that added just the right touch all over this set.

The majority of the material herein  is dedicated to his steadying force, his wife of 23 years.  Attesting to that fact is the story told in the opening cut, Mike’s original, “Tennessee Girl.”  Mike digs down deep into his soul, lamenting that “last train to Jacksonville,” with the gospel-fired “Are You Lonely For Me, Baby,” while he revisits his “Wheelies” days with a rocked-up read of “Let Me Love You Baby.”  The versatility in his voice is on full display in one of Bill Withers’ most poignant offerings, as our lovelorn hero succumbs to the inevitable in “I Hope She’ll Be Happier with him.”  This cut served as one of our favorites, as did  the sweet soul of “Snap Your Fingers,” and the beautiful ode to one of America’s living treasures, “When Mavis Sings.”

In the case of Mike Farris,  success has given him a look at where he was back in the day and put it in perspective as to where he is in the right now, along with those who have helped him along the way.  He has a soul man’s voice for the ages, and “Silver And Stone” makes a strong and powerful statement.  We love you, man….Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

 

 

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