Mike Farris – Americana Music Association Conference (Nashville, TN)

Mike Farris AMA Conference
Photo by Ana Gibert

Rolling onstage with one of the most diverse and high-energy groups in Nashville or anywhere else, Mike Farris’ nine-piece band shook the club Third and Lindsley like a maraca. The neo-gospel/soul revivalist had two soulful backup singers replacing the McCrary Sisters, who often played with Farris in the past. Keyboardist Paul Brown flung his hair and piano keys faster and wider than I’d have thought humanly possible—at points, Farris, on lead guitar, played face-to-face with wildman Brown like dueling guitarists.

He looks a little like Prince and sounds somewhere in the neighborhood of Little Richard, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. Farris’ supercharged voice slices through the band like a knife, delivering wonderful spirituals like “See What he Lord Has Done” and classic hymns like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” but we were also treated to Mary Gauthier’s lovely heartbreaker “Have a Little Mercy Now,’ which Farris converted into a truly religious experience as the Sunday sun rose upon Nashville.

– Suzanne Cadgene

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