Mike Farris (photo: William Wayland)
I don’t listen to a lot of gospel music and I wasn’t familiar with Mike Farris until last week, despite his recent Grammy for Best Roots Gospel Album. For a cynic like me, his performance is almost too good — like he’s playing the role of a gospel singer. But that says more about me than it does about Mr. Farris. I think he’s the real deal, and you’re going to feel uplifted when you listen to him play.
The Bay Area’s Lender isn’t an obvious pairing, and I had to wonder how they ended up on the same bill. The trio has a sound that isn’t easy to define. At base they’re a jam band, but each riff reveals a new layer of rock and jazz influences that gives their music an unusual depth for such a young group of musicians.