“Mike Farris has enough heart, soul, and power to light up a city. He mixes up the elements and turns them into something new, beautiful, and uniquely his own.” BUDDY MILLER (Robert Plant’s Band of Friends)
Back in 2005, Mike Farris cracked open the hallway door when, for the first time since the age of 15, he was clean and sober. Recording what would become the critically acclaimed Salvation in Lights (2007), a resurrected Mike eagerly anticipated the future. But with two ruptured discs, back surgery and the death of his beloved manager Rose McGathy all within a few weeks of the record's release, a rolling fog settled in. And with it, denial.
Nevertheless, Mike's career was picking up steam. He won an Americana Music Award for New/Emerging Artist in 2008, his live performances were drawing rave reviews. Revered artists like Rodney Crowell, Buddy Miller, Patty Griffin, and Marty Stuart were struck by his incomparable voice, and Mike opened shows for Patti LaBelle, Mavis Staples, Blind Boys of Alabama, Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby.
By 2010 Mike launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his next record, an independent release. His fans generously funded the project. Serious invitations kept coming: first, to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame's 16th Annual American Music Masters concert honoring Aretha Franklin, then TEDx Nashville, and then to the inaugural Austin City Limits Hall of Fame with Double Trouble.
Mike's spirited, soul-gospel fusion had found an enthusiastic audience, but denial has a way of biting back. Compared to his former life, he thought he was fine, but truth be told, Mike had become addicted to pain medication. The new album would have to take a back seat to a gut-check, life-changing recovery. Mike went to rehab and finally began excavating the root causes of his addiction with the help of support groups at AA and NA. Each honest step led to fertile, hopeful ground.
What eventually emerged from that fertile ground is ‘Shine For All The People’, the evolution of true sobriety, of finding a new identity as a servant, first as a man but also as an artist. "I'd been working on the record before my recovery, and then there was a pretty huge delay," explains Mike, who signed with Compass Records. "I had to back up, take time to grab the ground, to re-acclimate, to learn how to live now, truly sober for the first time since I was a kid."
"So many avenues of music flow through me, 100s of years of music, the music that I grew up with-from Blues, Rock, R&B and gospel-there had always been this pressure to try to force it into a box that would sell somehow. It's crazy and overwhelming at times, the weight of trying to meet expectations and make a living, but this time, that all fell away. I know now that this gift only exists to encourage people in their struggles, and if there's any power in it, it's not from me."
Released in September 2014, ‘Shine For All The People’ pushes beyond ‘Salvation in Lights’ in that it reveals hope not in any glory to come, but in the failures and suffering of the present. "My music has always been first and foremost for the downtrodden, the wayward...people who've had to go up the rough side of the mountain. Even when it's upbeat and inspiring, there's always been an element of pain, because truth be told, we're all flawed. Not everybody knows it, but we all are."
Whether rearranging songs of centuries past or infusing new lyrical life to half-songs, it becomes clear that Mike's vocal gift is simply the surface of a very deep well.
ROLLING STONE interview: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/mike-farris-revival-how-a-drug-addicted-rocker-found-god-and-grammy-20150521
BOB HARRIS: Most played tracks Plays
The Night The Cumberland Came Alive 8 25th Nov 2010-11th Sep 2014
Mercy Now 5 13th Dec 2012-15th May 2016
River Jordan 2 4th Jan 2015-27th Dec 2015
Power Of Love 2 2nd Nov 2014-7th Jun 2015
Don't Let The Sun Go Down 1 8th Nov 2012
Oh Mary Don't You Weep 1 25th Sep 2008
Can't No Grave Hold My Body Down 1 8th Jul 2012
Sparrow 1 19th Apr 2015
Lay My Burden Down 1 13th Dec 2012
Something Keeps Telling Me 1 1st Feb 2015
Dear Lazarus 1 13th Dec 2012
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