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  • On 'The New Faith,' Jake Blount Envisions a Future World Devastated By Climate Change

    Acclaimed musician and scholar Jake Blount will release his highly-anticipated new album, The New Faith on September 23, 2022. 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. Learn more and pre-order the album here.

    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. The album’s first single is Blount’s stirring version of “Didn’t It Rain”—made famous by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Mahalia Jackson.

    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, bass, 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.

    Based in Providence, RI, 26-year-old Blount is an award-winning banjoist, fiddler, singer and scholar specializing in the folk traditions of Black and indigenous Americans. In 2020, his debut solo album, Spider Tales, launched at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart and received overwhelming critical praise landing on year-end best of lists at the The New Yorker, NPR Music and more. In addition to his solo work, he is half of the internationally touring duo Tui, a recipient of 2020 the Steve Martin Banjo Prize, a two-time winner of the Appalachian String Band Music Festival (better known as Clifftop) and a founding member of Bluegrass Pride. Blount has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Newport Folk Festival and numerous other venues across and beyond the U.S. 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 Music.

    In celebration of the album, Blount will embark on an extensive headline tour this fall:

    • September 16—Hickory, NC—Sails Music Series
    • September 17—Knoxville, TN—Boyd’s Jig & Reel
    • September 18—Louisville, KY—Bourbon and Bluegrass Festival
    • September 19—Lexington, KY—WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour
    • September 20—Bellefontaine, OH—Holland Theatre
    • September 21—Lansing, MI—The Robin Theatre
    • September 22—Chicago, IL—The Hideout
    • September 23—Madison, WI—The North Street Cabaret
    • September 24—Winona, MN—Boats and Bluegrass
    • September 25—Minneapolis, MN—First Avenue & 7th St Entry
    • September 28—Wethersfield, CT—Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum
    • October 14—Philadelphia, PA—World Cafe Live
    • October 15—Washington, DC—Pearl Street Warehouse
    • October 16—Charlottesville, VA—The Front Porch
    • October 18—Brooklyn, NY—Jalopy Theater
    • October 19—Boston, MA—Club Passim
    • October 20—Sheffield, MA—Dewey Hall
    • October 21—Providence, RI—Columbus Theatre
    • October 22—Saratoga Springs, NY—Caffe Lena
    • October 23—Portland, ME—One Longfellow Square