The Reverend Shawn Amos on his newest album ‘Soul Brother No. 1’ : NPR

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Soul Brother No. 1 was a nickname given to James Brown, the Godfather of Soul.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: (Singing) Hear up. We interrupt for breaking information.

KURTZLEBEN: “Soul Brother No. 1” can be the identify of a brand new album from The Reverend Shawn Amos, and it captures a few of that James Brown spirit, particularly within the title observe.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: (Singing) Stone chilly. Choke maintain. who I’m. I am your Soul Brother No. 1, Soul Brother No. 1, Soul Brother No. 1.

KURTZLEBEN: You possibly can’t see it, however I am dancing proper now. The brand new Soul Brother is right here to speak to us about that album. Reverend Shawn Amos, welcome to this system.

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: Thanks for having me.

KURTZLEBEN: Now, it’s a nervy transfer – to place it frivolously – evaluating your self to James Brown like that. What was the pondering?

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: It wasn’t the intention, to be trustworthy with you. I do not suppose anybody might ever examine to James Brown. There’s just one. It was actually my want to reclaim a few of my id, and it was an invite to others to reclaim their very own. I feel all of us could be our personal private Soul Brother No. 1 or Soul Sister No. 1.

KURTZLEBEN: On this album, your music spans so many genres. There’s funk and soul, however there’s additionally rock and a few gradual blues and gospel. Is there any a type of genres the place you are feeling essentially the most comfy?

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: , I have been a blue singer for, God, you already know, during the last decade. And in order that’s dwelling for me, for positive. And one of many considerations I had coming into it was that – can I transition from being a fairly good blue singer to being, you already know, a fairly good soul singer? That was a stretch for me, however in the easiest way. I inform everybody it is an album constructed on the blues basis, however there’s this funk, soul home constructed on high of it.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: (Singing) I am going again.

KURTZLEBEN: Properly, talking of the various genres on this album, let’s hear a clip from Again To The Starting, which options the gospel-singing McCrary Sisters.


MCRARY SISTERS: (Singing) Time is all that now we have. Time is all that now we have.

KURTZLEBEN: You have got a number of collaborators on this album moreover them. How do you resolve who to collaborate with?

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: A part of it’s a want record, like, who’ve I at all times needed to be within the studio with? And I am at all times amazed that folks simply wish to work. Each time I make a name to somebody, I am a bit of afraid and suppose, that they’d by no means wish to work with me. Steve Ferrone who was Tom Petty’s drummer -and the Heartbreakers – for the final 20 years, he performs drums on the album. I used to be fully simply mortified to name him. And he is like, yeah, I am in.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: And I simply have this dream record of individuals I feel will get it. Who would I wish to hear? Who’s going to be enjoyable to collaborate with and take it to a different degree? And the recordings final endlessly. And so if you’re making one thing that is gonna be round longer than you’re, you simply wish to ensure you’ve given it your finest shot.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: (Singing) Now I’ve had my revelation. Seven-headed beast inside. Now I’ve had my revelation.

KURTZLEBEN: I wish to get to your identify. You are not simply Shawn Amos. You are The Reverend Shawn Amos. Do you preach if you’re not singing?

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: The is a very powerful a part of that.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: The article is a very powerful.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: When folks invoice me as Reverend Shawn Amos, I am like, no – the.

KURTZLEBEN: Particular article. Come on.

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: Completely. Completely. I’m a reverend by way of the magic of the web in Common Life Church.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: I preach from the stage. It is humorous. I used to be provided that title. I performed my first blue exhibits in Italy, near 13 years in the past now. And after the gigs, the viewers was chanting, il reverendo, il reverendo. And I turned to my pal who invited me there to play. I used to be like, what are they saying? They mentioned, they’re calling you the reverend – calling you reverend. So I figured if a bunch of Italian Catholics can bestow me with the title of reverend, then I ought to hold it.

KURTZLEBEN: You by no means let go of that sort of nickname. No.

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: I got here again, and I’ve by no means let it go.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: (Singing) Final night time previous the curfew by the monument. Made the information. Stated it is all about cash. What it’s is a debt gone too lengthy unpaid. What it’s to be Black. What it’s to be at all times amazed on the lack.

KURTZLEBEN: One thread you carry into your songs on this album is race. You have got a music referred to as “What It Is To Be Black,” which is fairly introspective soul music. After which you will have a funkier, I feel, extra aggressive one referred to as “Do not Name Me N-word, Whitey.” And I am curious, how do these songs match collectively in your thoughts?

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: So, the “Do not Name Me N-word, Whitey” is a Sly Stone cowl – Sly and the Household Stone cowl – that I used to play stay years in the past. I truly do it as a sing-along.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: I would say, do not name me – uh – whitey, and complete viewers would sing whitey with none drawback in any respect. And I would flip that nobody would sing the opposite one. I feel that music is – it is one of the succinct and clear examples or requires empathy on either side. I imply, all of us simply wish to be seen.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: (Singing) That all of us will probably be free after we take freedom significantly.

After which “What It Is To Be Black, ” they’re sister songs in a approach. I’ve gone by way of such an evolution of defining my very own Blackness and my very own id, and I’m in the course of a journey that I feel is hopefully metaphorical for anybody who’s going by way of any sort of journey to determine who the heck they’re.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: (Singing) What it’s to be Black. What it’s to be Black. Yeah, all of us will probably be free. Yeah, all of us will probably be free.

KURTZLEBEN: You’ve got talked about determining the evolution of your Blackness. You’ve got additionally talked about discovering your id. Inform me extra about that. What did that appear like if you have been recording this file?

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: It truly began earlier than I recorded the file. I wrote a semi-autobiographical younger grownup e-book referred to as “Cookies & Milk”. And it was the primary probability I actually thought of rising up within the ’70s, rising up in Hollywood, rising up in a world the place I used to be the one Black child round in an age that predates the web. So it was very troublesome to search out clues to who I used to be. And so popping out of that e-book, I used to be simply caught in that headspace. One, I used to be caught within the music of the ’70s, which I form of had rediscovered by way of writing the e-book. And I used to be additionally realizing how a lot I would been reduce off from loads of my very own historical past and id, and I needed to discover that extra. And so the album is me form of persevering with that journey.


KURTZLEBEN: That is such a heat and optimistic file in loads of methods.

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: Aw, thanks. Thanks.

KURTZLEBEN: Properly, yeah, I imply, it ends with a observe referred to as “Issues Will Be Effective.” Is that simply the way you typically really feel concerning the world?

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: Properly, that lyric is issues will probably be positive, ellipses, if we let it.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: And that is the entire vibe of the album. It is this concept of being prideful, being optimistic, however not with out accountability and never with out duty. And I feel issues will probably be positive if we make some selections to try this.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: (Singing) Issues will probably be positive if we simply let it.

UNIDENTIFIED MUSICAL ARTIST: (Singing) Now I am pondering what them fools do. They are saying, we do not have the phrases fairly but, however we’re gonna consider one thing quickly.

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: All of us have this alternative between love and concern, and we have been selecting concern so much these days, and I might love us to decide on love, and I feel that we’d like extra reminders of the facility of that. And that is my small providing.


UNIDENTIFIED MUSICAL ARTIST: (Singing) Issues will probably be positive if we simply let it.

KURTZLEBEN: That was the The Reverend Shawn Amos speaking to us about his file, “Soul Brother No. 1.” Shawn, thanks a lot.

THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: Aw, thanks a lot, Danielle. Be properly.


THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS: (Singing) Issues will probably be positive. Issues will probably be positive.

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