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 is being released as part of Smithsonian Folkways’ African American Legacy series.
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.
Jake Blount’s music is rooted in care and confrontation. He is a scholar of Black American music, speaking ardently about the African roots of the banjo and the subtle, yet profound ways African Americans have shaped and defined the amorphous categories of roots music and Americana. His 2020 album Spider Tales highlighted the Black and Indigenous histories of popular American folk tunes, as well as revived songs unjustly forgotten in the whitewashing of the canon. Each song Blount plays is chosen for a reason - because it highlights important elements about the stories we tell ourselves of our shared history and our endlessly complicated present moment. The more we learn the full, unvarnished history about where we’ve been, the better equipped we are to face the future.
"Jake Blount, an Afrofuturist in roots-music garb, turns the early African-American songbook of blues, spirituals and field songs into a Dr. Who-like Tardis in recordings that engage with those old styles while warping, distilling and even exploding them." - Ann Powers, NPR Music
"[Blount] mines a deep, underexplored vein of Black and indigenous roots music, presenting new, often haunted versions of field hollers, murder ballads, and more." - The New Yorker
Featuring songs derived from performances by Fannie Lou Hamer, Skip James, Bessie Jones, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson, Blind Willie McTell, and Walter "Tangle Eye" Jackson