Fifth among Mike Farris’ full length albums, Silver and Stone released today by Compass Records, is packed in tight with a thoughtful list of studio performances from many of Nashville’s notorious noteworthies. An established talent himself, with a recent GRAMMY under his belt for his 2015 release of Shine For All The People, Farris pulled out all the stops when developing the lineup for this recording.
Among the heaps of talented musicians, Silver and Stone boasts percussive performances from “Memphis Boy” Gene Chrisman (Dusty Springfield, Elvis Presley, Dan Auerbach) as well as Derrek Phillips who’s kept the beat for Robben Ford and Hank Williams Jr. Bringing in keyboardists Reese Wynans (Joe Bonamassa, Double Trouble) and long-time Farris collaborator Paul Brown (Waterboys, Ann Peebles), this album keeps delivering with lead guitar riffs carried by bosses like Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, John Hiatt), Rob McNelley (Delbert McClinton), George Marinelli (Bonnie Raitt), and Steve Mackey (Wallflowers, Delbert McClinton).
Allowing the accolades to fall where they’re due, Farris credits the band for their ability to modernize the collection of classic tunes and progressions that he developed throughout his album. Pulling influences from Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Bill Withers—and featuring an anguishing cover of Mr. Wither’s more joyful tunes, “I Hope She’ll Be Happier”— Silver and Stone is at first lighthearted but then digs in to turn out heaping doses of sorrow and anguish from seeming years of sorting through the emotions of a strained marriage.
If you know a musician, artist, creative person, or if are one yourself then you know how the pull of art can deter attention away from the people that are right in front of you. It takes a great deal of time to become inspired and then even more to become great. Perhaps in this case, the act of holding that recent Grammy allowed space for Mike Farris’ art to turn inward, towards the woman that has been standing with him these twenty-three years. Like in the track “Moving Me”, with the screaming guitar solo of long time friend and collaborator Joe Bonamassa along with the bleeding hammond organ, Farris is really able to connect that loving spirit of passion to the necessary endurance that is needed to sustain a working marriage.
Energetic, and with plenty of mood, Mike Farris has drawn the shades with this latest album Silver and Stone, and lit a candle to love, art and to the many collaborations that it takes to sustain them both.
You can listen to the full album by visiting Farris’ website, here.