About this project
"Johnson's music was charred with purgatorial fire- more than sixty years later, you can still smell the smoke on it." --The History of the Blues
"It would be impossible to list every musician influenced by Blind Willie Johnson, because it would require mentioning almost everyone who ever listened to one of his records." -Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music
Help create new recordings by Tom Waits, Sinead O’Connor, Lucinda Williams, Luther Dickinson, Cowboy Junkies, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, Blind Boys of Alabama, Rickie Lee Jones and More!
THE ALBUM ONLY HAPPENS IF FANS FUND IT.
Please support “The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson” by backing us at Kickstarter today!
NASA recently confirmed that mankind has left the solar system for the first time with its Voyager 1 spacecraft entering interstellar space after a 36 year journey. Onboard the spacecraft is a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk, carrying the music of Bach and Mozart, and Blind Willie Johnson’s recording Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground. Meanwhile back on earth, Blind Willie Johnson's significant contribution to the world of music is far too often overlooked. Our mission is to shine a light and acknowledge this important and influential artist currently representing mankind in outer space.
The creator of the award-winning album and independently produced Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan hopes to return in 2014 with God Don’t Never Change:The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson. God Don't Never Change is a production of Jeffrey Gaskill and Burning Rose Productions that invites backers of the project to share in the album making process and a celebration of Blind Willie Johnson. His previous effort which The New York Times called "The best African-American covers of Dylan songs since Jimi Hendrix" earned Grammy nods in the categories of Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for Gonna Change My Way of Thinking by Bob Dylan and Mavis Staples.
With a proven track record of success and a mind blowing list of artistic talent, the project's creator is ideally suited to create some great new music and launch the first-ever all-star tribute to Blind Willie Johnson. But in order to make “God Don’t Never Change” a reality your help is needed!
Blind Willie Johnson’s records continue to capture listeners in a way that few singers or musicians have equaled. The list of artists he has influenced goes back to Robert Johnson and forward to the White Stripes.
When you think about tradition you can't fail to notice the Blind Boys of Alabama (Motherless Children) a group that started in 1939 in Johnson’s lifetime and still continues today. Cowboy Junkies (Jesus Coming Soon) radiate that haunting ethereal feel of the early blues. You can hear Johnson’s influence and themes in Luther Dickinson’s (Bye and Bye I'm Going to See the King) work both as a solo artist and with the North Mississippi Allstars. Lucinda Williams (Nobody's Fault But Mine) comes from that part of the country, where Louisiana meets Texas, just a stones throw from Beaumont where Willie spent his last years. A new recording of Johnson material by Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi (Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning) is certain to bring out the best in his sweet slide and her bluesy voice. No one can sing with the raw emotional depth of Rickie Lee Jones (Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground) and she will reveal the words to this acclaimed song. Sinead O’Connor (Lord I Just Can't Keep from Crying Sometimes) recently opened her gospel session concerts at Lincoln Center with two of Johnson's songs and is sure to conjure more magic here. Tom Waits (Soul of a Man AND John The Revelator) has agreed to not one but two recordings for the album and one can easily compare the rough gravely voice of Mr. Waits to that of Willie Johnson. Who will join us next?
FIVE Handmade Cigar Box Guitars Made of Wood From Blind Willie Johnson's 1930's Home
MARLIN, TX -- Sadly, the remnants of the 1920’s/30’s Marlin, TX home Johnson made with his wife and singing partner Willie B. Harris were recently demolished. It was here that blues researcher Dan Williams discovered and visited Harris in the 70's and where journalist Michael Corcoran interviewed Johnson's only known Daughter Sam Faye Kelly shortly before her death in 2005. We were able to obtain three boards that had fallen free from the dilapidated structure and deliver the wood to the capable hands of George Brin at String Tinkers in Putnam, CT. He carefully cleaned up this old Southern Yellow Pine and painstakingly hand made ten magnificent fingerjointed boxes bookmatched front and back to create these rare and highly collectible cigar box guitars now called “The Blind Pilgrim Collection.” Only ten of these instruments were created. Each unique 4-string or 6-string guitar is numbered with a brass plate on the back, comes with solid supporting documentation of the wood and home, instructional DVD “The Guitar of Blind Willie Johnson” by Tom Feldmann, Tom’s signature series slide, and a black padded nylon carry case.
ALL BACKERS WILL RECEIVE EXCLUSIVE UPDATES!
As the project unfolds You will receive regular backer exclusive updates throughout the fundraising and album making process. We will share with you video/photo documentation of the recording sessions and interviews with as many of the artists as possible.about Blind Willie Johnson and his influence.
100 Signed and Numbered Art Prints by Acclaimed Artist Marc Burckhardt
Producing a compilation - by its very nature - is a costly venture. There are musicians and studios, engineers, mixing, mastering and pressing, Kickstarter fees, legal fees, and a range of other expenses including video editing, graphic design, web development, and travel expenses not to mention some extra special rewards for you. With your help, the producer can make this well deserved tribute to Blind Willie Johnson a reality.
Risks and challenges
The greatest risk is the project will only be made if it's funded by YOU. We don't foresee any issues, but multi-artist compilations invite scheduling problems or perhaps waiting for the best artist to cover a particular song. We have written agreements with each of the artists and we have built buffer time into our estimated dates. There could always be an unforeseen change of song choice or artist. With proper funding we are excited to add more artists to the roster and confident we will be able to secure artists that will only continue to enhance our current line-up. Backer exclusive updates will fill any time gaps and we hope you will enjoy watching the project come together to reach its full potential.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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