In Higher Ground, one in every of our so much insightful tune writers brilliantly reinterprets the lives of 3 pop geniuses and the soul revolution they launched.
Soul track is considered one of America's maximum cultural achievements, and Stevie ask yourself, Aretha Franklin, and Curtis Mayfield are 3 of its so much encouraged practitioners. In midcentury the United States it used to be soul music--particularly the awesome circulation of recordings made by way of those 3 stars--that helped carry the gospel imaginative and prescient of the black church into the mainstream, energizing the era’s social routine and defining a brand new American gospel the place the sacred and the secular met. What made this gospel all of the extra extraordinary was once that its so much influential articulators have been the little kids of sharecroppers, storefront preachers, and unmarried mom and dad within the tasks, whose genius gave voice to a brand new imaginative and prescient of yankee possibility.
Higher Ground seamlessly weaves the categorical and very own narratives of Stevie, Aretha, and Curtis’s lives into the old textile in their occasions. the 3 shared many similarities: They have been all teenagers of the nice migration and of the black church. however the gospel impulse manifested itself in several methods in the dramas in their person lives and musical creations. In Stevie Wonder’s case, it used to be a actually color-blind common feel of spirituality that expressed itself in his existence and track as an urge towards transcendence, really within the mid-seventies while albums like Innervisions and Songs within the Key of existence considerably revised what a pop album will be. For Aretha Franklin, the conventional gospel imaginative and prescient of a liked neighborhood anchored within the energy of girls comforted her via a existence affected by tragedy and located expression in propulsive pop songs like "Respect" in addition to in her mythical gospel albums. And for Curtis Mayfield, the gospel proposal of awake dwelling encouraged him to create songs that served the needs of the Civil Rights move and the novel Black strength circulation alike, from the gritty highway drama of Superfly to the transcendent name of "People Get Ready."
Werner does not simply offer a story of 3 attention-grabbing lives; he ties them including a provocative thesis approximately American background and tradition that compels us to reassess either the tune and the days. And other than the personalities and the heritage, he writes fantastically approximately song itself, the nuts and bolts of its production and function, in a fashion that brings a brand new knowledge and realizing to the main typical song, forcing readers to hear songs they have heard one thousand occasions with clean ears. In Higher Ground, Werner illuminates the lives of 3 extraordinary American artists, reminding us why their track mattered then and nonetheless resonates with us today.
From the Hardcover edition.