Album and accompanying film recorded in the field in makeshift recording studio in rural, eastern NC right before pandemic
Bible & Tire Recording Co. and Music Maker Relief Foundation have shared the new single from the landmark Sacred Soul of North Carolina project, recorded in a makeshift studio in rural eastern North Carolina by Bruce Watson (R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, also of Fat Possum) and Tim Duffy (Carolina Chocolate Drops) right before the pandemic hit. With a sweaty, passionate performance, Bishop Albert Harrison & The Gospel Tones’ “Shake Me” more than lives up to its title. Harrison explains, “When you singing from your heart, you’ve got to come from the old jubilee style.” In addition to the single, Bible & Tire and Music Maker have also shared a clip from the forthcoming documentary film.
“Shake Me” (clear to post)
Film excerpt (clear to post)
NPR Music and NYC NPR station WNYC (respectively) have each previewed ‘Sacred Soul of North Carolina.’ WNYC’s John Schaefer wrote, “They documented the area’s rich musical tradition called “sacred soul,” a musical style whose roots go back for generations,” describing an earlier single by saying, “with the band kicking in behind him and the traditional backup singers engaging in some call and response, it’s got a classic soul vibe.” As film clips topped 50,000 views in a few short weeks, NPR Music shared an excerpt from the film by Little Willie & The Fantastic Spiritualaires.
Long a solo singer, when Bishop Harrison was in the hospital in 2006, he took stock of his life and resolved to start a quartet. He hails from the experimental planned black community of Soul City in Warren County. Talking about sacred soul musicians in Eastern North Carolina, he says, “We all come back from a long way back. We all come up on farms. Our mothers and fathers and grandfathers always used to sing. It’s something we love to do.”
Rarely have the musicians of this region, whose family and musical roots date back to the 17th Century, been recorded or filmed. The album and film include detailed liner notes by folklorist Will Boone as well as bios on each group.