Making music with a group of people can feel kind of magical, as if something enters the room and takes over. We all know there’s more to it—countless hours of practice and hard work, learning to listen to each other over and over again, and working through differing ideas about tempo and interpretation.
But then when hearts and minds come together, and we’re united by a rhythm and purpose, it is powerful. The development and recording of “Together, We Rise!” was that kind of experience.
It began with me sharing “For Broken Things” at Augusta Blues week in 2016, and people connected with the message, and they helped and encouraged me. As I continued to write the things that were on my heart and to express them through song, people seemed to connect with them. As I taught my songs to other musicians, the songs came to life—with a richer character and substance that came from the community of people who brought their gifts to the table.
When I listen now to “We Can Rise,” I relive the transformation that took place as the rhythm and flourishes of experienced and caring musicians took it to new heights. Strong beautiful voices took over the vocal riffs I had started but could not finish by myself. That seems fitting for this song. It is also fitting for our country, for our world. The third verse sums up what I felt with the musicians and what I hope for our world. It also makes me wonder what would happen if we required Congress to make music together…
“Alone I can do little, but together we can rise
We’re gonna have to build some bridges, but together we can rise
None of us have wings, alone we cannot fly
But when we raise each other up we are moving toward the sky
We can rise, we can rise, we can rise, we believe we can rise”