Emmylou Harris & John Paul White have released “Kyrie,” the second single from the upcoming Phil Madeira’s “Mercyland: Hymns For The Rest Of Us, Volume II” compilation.
About the song Emmylou Harris told Rolling Stone Country “I’m happy that ‘Kyrie’ is part of the Mercyland compilation. Songwriting is and always has been a mystery to me, but it helps to be in the room with a friend like Phil [Madeira], who birthed this one with me.”
This is the second version of the broadly spiritual, and Kickstarter-funded, compilation series highlighting some of Americana music’s best talent.
Madeira tells Rolling Stone Country “When I started Volume II, [Emmylou] suggested we write together, which of course was an honor. She brought lovely verse ideas to the table, but a chorus eluded us until the words ‘Kyrie Eleison’ appeared. What better prayer can be prayed than to ask for mercy?”
“Mercyland: Hymns For The Rest Of Us, Volume II” Track List
The Lone Bellow – “I See That Hand”
The Wood Brothers – “Can’t Put A Name On It”
Emmylou Harris with John Paul White – “Kyrie”
Humming People – “Stars”
Angel Snow – “I Said It, I Mean It”
Jason Eskridge & Cindy Morgan – “Sacred Ground”
Sugar & The Hi-Lows – “Stranger”
Will Kimbrough – “The Madness of the World”
Phil Madeira – “Mercy”
The McCrary Sisters – “Boom Chicka Boom”
David Crowder – “Make An Ocean”
John Schofield – “Heaven Hill”
Building on the already excellent initial lineup announcement the Nashville-based Americana Music Association has released has released the full roster of artists performing during the event.
Some of the additions that stand out to me are roots-rockers Shooter Jennings and Austin Lucas, alt.country stalwarts Bottle Rockets and Ashley Monroe who apparently has no problem working both the Americana and Music Row sides of the fence (good!) One performer I’m bummed to see missing from the roster is Jason Isbell (Though his talented better half, Amanda Shires, is on the list.) There might be scheduling conflicts with his current tour supporting the excellent “Southeastern.”
The vagueness of Americana’s boundaries allows a richness and diversity within a shared source and vision. it’s what legend, and scheduled performer, Darrell Scott describes positively as a “hard-to-define place.”
the selections show a broad range of diversity and excellence the of the genre. Great to see many Casa Twang favorites represented as well.
Americana Music Festival & Conference Showcase Performing Artistt
Andrew Leahey & the Homestead
Band of Heathens
Ben Miller Band
Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien
Dash Rip Rock
Donna the Buffalo
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
Hurray for the Riff Raff
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons
Joy Kills Sorrow
Judah & the Lion
Justin Townes Earle
Lisa Marie Presley
Luella & the Sun
My Darling Clementine
Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers
Nora Jane Struthers
North Mississippi Allstars
Old Man Luedecke
Over The Rhine
Sam Doores, Riley Downing & the Tumbleweeds
Sons of Fathers
Spirit Family Reunion
St. Paul and the Broken Bones
Steep Canyon Rangers
Stewart Mann & the Statesboro Revue
The Devil Makes Three
The Lone Bellow
The Lost Brothers
The Stray Birds
The Westbound Rangers
The White Buffalo
Two Man Gentleman Band
An Easter vacation was the perfect opportunity to listen to “Mercyland: Hymns For The Rest Of Us” a compilation release by singer/songwriter, producer and musician Phil Madeira. As the title suggests the thematic underpinning of the album is spirituality but, luckily, this is not the God-as-backdrop trotted out in too many Music City productions. Nor is it a blandly fuzzy new-age soundtrack to glaze your eyes.
Community runs deep in Mercyland. Started by Madeira as a project on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter, the project achieved it’s funding goal of $5,000 and went on the an an additional $32,205 on top of that.
Like one of the albums contributors and fellow traveler, Buddy Miller, Madeira reminds us that the divine can come from common places. Reaching back to a source of faith that nourished bands like the Louvin and Stanley brothers and later by Johnny Cash and Billy Joe Shaver, these are songs of common experiences of love, hope and grace.
Some of Americana music’s finest have gathered here to bear witness. Miller, Emmylou Harris, The Carolina Chocolate Drops and others work as missionaries that work across faiths and genres to create a unifying spirit of music.
The Civil Wars begins things with joyful noise as with “From This Valley” John Paul White strums his acoustic guitar and hollers “Woo hoo!” He and Joy Williams voices intertwines and soars like morning doves.
Shawn Mullins’ follows with a simmering swamp-blues “Give God the Blues.” Mullins calls out creeds, saints and sinners alike, tears down the walls of division and assures all that none have a monopoly on the Lord’s love. He assures us all that “God’s above all that.”
Buddy Miller has a long career of testifying without sermonizing and on his calmly spirited “I Believe in You” he deftly commands this force of song-craft. Like an old-style tent revival run up against a traveling medicine show the varied spice of life is tasted. The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ banjo-driven gospel “Lights In The Valley.” Madeira’s self-titled contribution “Mercyland” is a New Orleans-style story of hope and redemption. Madeira joins Cindy Morgan in the gloriously yearning “Leaning On You.”
Developing allegory is a tougher job than just using ready make symbols for threadbare religious shorthand. The concept of spirituality is a tougher job for a lazy songwriter than just rhyming “Jesus comes” with “bangin’ drums.”
The greatest and most enduring gospel songs, from The Great Speckled Bird to Amazing Grace, are master works of allegory and allow a richer and deeper musical expression and broadness in narrative to speak to beauty, devotion and sacrifice.
Phil Madeira and his musical congregation do good and great work on this collection of songs that inspire without beating you over the head with the Good Book. They also don’t put you to sleep in the pew to dream of post church fried chicken. That’s a miracle it itself.