The New Faith Jake Blount
- 1Take Me to the Water / Prayer03:35
- 2The Downward Road03:36
- 3Didn't It Rain03:05
- 4Tangle Eye Blues03:51
- 6Death Have Mercy02:59
- 7City Called Heaven04:52
- 8They Are Waiting for Me04:27
- 10Just as Well Get Ready, You Got to Die03:08
- 11Give up the World04:09
- 12Once There Was No Sun04:21
Info for The New Faith
'The New Faith' tells an Afrofuturist story set in a far-future world devastated by climate change. Jake Blount and his collaborators embody a group of Black climate refugees as they perform a religious service, invoking spirituals that are age-old even now, familiar in their content but extraordinary in their presentation. These songs, which have seen Black Americans through countless struggles, bind this future community together and their shared past; beauty and power held in song through centuries of devastation, heartbreak, and loss.
Acclaimed musician and scholar Jake Blount will release his highly-anticipated new album, The New Faith. The follow up to 2020’s breakthrough debut, Spider Tales, which The Guardian awarded a perfect five stars and called, “an instant classic,” The New Faith will be released as part of Smithsonian Folkways’ African American Legacy series—co-conceived with and supported by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
A dystopian Afrofuturistic concept album, the record features ten reimagined and reinterpreted traditional Black spirituals across twelve tracks in addition to two original spoken word pieces.
Conceived, written and recorded during the darkest months of lockdowns—while Blount himself was still recovering from what he now knows was likely a bout with long COVID—and just after the unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd, the album aims to envision what Black religious music would sound like in a not-so-distant future world devastated by climate change.
Produced by Blount along with Brian Slattery, the album was recorded mainly in Blount’s own bedroom in Providence, RI. In addition to Blount on vocals, fiddle, banjo, percussion and strings and Slattery on percussion, guitar and strings, the album features guest appearances by Demeanor, D’orjay The Singing Shaman, Samuel James, Kaïa Kater, Lizzie No, Mali Obomsawin, Brandi Pace, Rissi Palmer and Lillian Werbin.
“I have long felt a powerful draw to the old spirituals passed down in my community. I am an unlikely devotee; I only rarely attended church as a child, declared myself an atheist at the tender age of eight and developed a strong antipathy toward Christianity when I began to understand my queerness. Nonetheless, spirituals are the songs I bring to communal singing events. They are the songs I teach. In moments of homesickness, sorrow and fear, they are the songs I turn to for solace.
This record envisions Black American religious music in a future devastated by warfare and anthropogenic climate change. The record is based on field recordings of Black religious services from the early-to-mid 20th century, but it is composed entirely of new arrangements and subtle rewrites of traditional Black folk songs. To make an informed prediction, I referenced a more diverse cross-section of the African Diaspora’s music than I ever have before. This album incorporates sounds from Belize, Georgia, Jamaica, Texas, Mississippi, New York and beyond.
It is not surprising to me that the most paralyzing time of my life, and the deepest dive into history I’ve yet taken, have resulted in an Afrofuturist album. I believe our most likely future bears a close resemblance to our past.
is an award-winning musician and scholar based in Providence, RI. He is half of the internationally touring duo Tui, a 2020 recipient of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize, and a two-time winner of the Appalachian String Band Music Festival (better known as Clifftop). Blount, a specialist in the early folk music of Black Americans, is a skilled performer of spirituals, blues and string band repertoire. Blount has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Newport Folk Festival, and numerous other venues across and beyond the United States. He has presented his scholarly work at museums and universities including the Smithsonian Institution, Berklee College of Music and Yale University. His writing has appeared in Paste Magazine, No Depression, and NPR, and he has been a guest on Radiolab and Soundcheck. His first solo album, Spider Tales, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, received positive coverage from NPR, Rolling Stone and Billboard among others, and earned five out of five stars as The Guardian's Folk Album of the Month. Spider Tales later appeared on "Best of 2020" lists from NPR, Bandcamp, The New Yorker, the Guardian, and elsewhere. His latest album, The New Faith, is slated for release as part of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings' African American Legacy Series on September 23, 2022.
At age 12 he picked up the electric guitar, going on to play in local bands throughout his adolescence. On a fateful day when he was just 16, Jake heard Megan Jean and the KFB playing acoustic music in an Ethiopian restaurant. He was struck by their use of clawhammer banjo and their independence as full-time musicians, both of which helped inspire him to start playing acoustically.
A couple years later, Blount enrolled at Hamilton College to pursue a degree in Ethnomusicology with a focus on early African-American folk music. There he met Dr. Lydia Hamessley, who would go on to be his advisor as well as his mentor for banjo playing and old-time music. He picked up the fiddle in 2014 and continued to fully immerse himself in string band music and the music of Black communities in America. From there, Jake teamed up with his band the Moose Whisperers to compete in and ultimately win Clifftop Festival’s traditional band contest.
In 2017, Blount graduated with a B.A. in Ethnomusicology and released his debut EP, ‘Reparations’, with fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves. Since then, he’s released collaborative work with fiddle player Libby Weitnauer under the moniker Tui and a critically-acclaimed solo album, ‘Spider Tales’, that debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart. He continues to be involved in the queer old-time community as a board member of Bluegrass Pride, and most recently received the Steve Martin Banjo Prize in 2020.
“On top of being wildly intelligent and knowledgeable, he's also a killer musician and it's an incredible combo.” - Rhiannon Giddens
“Jake Blount is a brilliant banjoist, fiddle player and singer... his fingering thrilling and pacy, his voice charismatic and limber.” - Jude Rogers, The Guardian
This album contains no booklet.