Larry David Norman was an American musician, songwriter, record label owner, record producer. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of Christian rock music, released more than 100 albums. Larry Norman was born in Corpus Christi, the oldest son of Joe Hendrex "Joe Billy" Norman, his wife, Margaret Evelyn "Marge" Stout. Joe Norman had served as a sergeant in the US Army Air Corps during World War II and worked at the Southern Pacific Railroad while studying to become a teacher. After Norman's birth, the family joined the Southern Baptist church. In 1950 the family moved to San Francisco, where they attended a Black American Pentecostal church and a Baptist church, where Norman became a Christian at the age of five. In 1959, Norman performed on the syndicated television show The Original Amateur Hour. In 1960, Norman's father began teaching in California. Norman graduated from Campbell High School in 1965 and won an academic scholarship to major in English at San Jose State College. After one semester, Norman "flunked out of college and lost scholarship".
Although Norman was able to play a variety of musical instruments, he never learned to read or write musical notation. While still in high school, Norman formed a group called The Back Country Seven, which included his sister Nancy Jo and friend Gene Mason. After graduating, Norman continued performing locally. In 1966 Norman opened a concert for People! at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. He became the band's principal songwriter, sharing lead vocals with his Back Country Seven bandmate Gene Mason. People! Performed about 200 concerts a year, appearing with Van Morrison and Them, The Animals, The Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere & the Raiders, The Doors, The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Moby Grape, San Jose bands Syndicate of Sound and Count Five; the band's cover of The Zombies' "I Love You" became a hit single, selling over one million copies and charting in several markets. Norman left People! just as Capitol released the band's first album in mid 1968, but reunited with Mason for concerts in 1974 and 2006.
According to rock historian Walter Rasmussen, Pete Townshend once said that The Who's 1969 album Tommy was inspired by the rock opera "Epic" by People!. Soon after Norman left People!, he had "a powerful spiritual encounter that threw him into a frenzy of indecision about his life for the first time in his life, he received what he understood to be the Holy Spirit". In July 1968, following a job offer to write musicals for Capitol Records, Norman moved to Los Angeles, where he "spent time sharing the gospel on the streets"; as he described in 2006: "I walked up and down Hollywood Boulevard several times a day... witnessing to businessmen and hippies, to whomever the Spirit led me. I spent all of my Capitol Records' royalties starting a halfway house and buying clothes and food for new converts." He was associated with the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, its Salt Company coffee shop outreach ministry, where he explored and pioneered the rock-gospel genre. In 1968 Norman wrote several songs for the rock musicals Alison and Birthday for Shakespeare, both of which were performed in Los Angeles.
The next year and his friend Teddy Neeley auditioned for the Los Angeles production of the rock musical Hair and were offered the roles of George Berger and Claude Bukowski, respectively. In 1969, Norman wrote a musical called Love on Haight Street and a rock opera called Lion's Breath, which led Capitol to re-sign Norman to record an album, with the promise of complete creative control. In 1969, Capitol Records released Norman's first solo album, Upon This Rock, produced by Hal Yoergler, is now considered to be "the first full-blown Christian rock album". Norman was denounced by various television evangelists, Capitol deemed the album a commercial flop and dropped Norman from the label. However, his music gained a large following in the emerging countercultural movements. Sales of the album rose following its distribution in Christian bookstores. By the early 1970s, Norman was performing for large audiences, appeared at several Christian music festivals, including Explo'72, a six-day Dallas, event, called the "Jesus Woodstock."
Norman established a half-way house where he "housed and fed various groups of people, supervised their Bible studies and drove them to church on Fridays and Sundays". He earned $80 per month from Capitol for refining songs for Capitol artists. In 1970, Norman established One Way Records, he released two of his own albums Street Level and Bootleg on the label as well as Randy Stonehill's first album, Born Twice. In 1971, Norman first visited England, where he worked for several years, he recorded two studio albums, Only Visiting This Planet and So Long Ago the Garden, in London's AIR Studios. Released in 1972, Visiting "was meant to reach the flower children disillusioned by the government and the church" with its "abrasive, urban reality of the gospel", has been ranked as Norman's best album; the release of Garden in November 1973 was met with controversy in the Christian press, due to the album's cover art and some songs in which Norman took the persona of a backslider. In 1974, Norman founded Solid Rock Records to produce records for Christian artists "who didn't want to be consumed by the business of making vinyl pancakes but
Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U. S. folk rock emerged from the folk music revival and the influence that the Beatles and other British Invasion bands had on members of that movement. Performers such as Bob Dylan and the Byrds—several of whose members had earlier played in folk ensembles—attempted to blend the sounds of rock with their preexisting folk repertoire, adopting the use of electric instrumentation and drums in a way discouraged in the U. S. folk community. The term "folk rock" was used in the U. S. music press in June 1965 to describe the Byrds' music. The commercial success of the Byrds' cover version of Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and their debut album of the same name, along with Dylan's own recordings with rock instrumentation—on the albums Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde —encouraged other folk acts, such as Simon & Garfunkel, to use electric backing on their records and new groups, such as Buffalo Springfield, to form.
Dylan's controversial appearance at the Newport Folk Festival on 25 July 1965, where he was backed by an electric band, was a pivotal moment in the development of the genre. During the late 1960s in Britain and Europe, a distinct, eclectic British folk rock style was created by Pentangle, Fairport Convention and Alan Stivell. Inspired by British psychedelic folk and the North American style of folk rock, British folk rock bands began to incorporate elements of traditional British folk music into their repertoire, leading to other variants, including the overtly English folk rock of the Albion Band and Celtic rock. In its earliest and narrowest sense, the term "folk rock" refers to the blending of elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the U. S. and UK in the mid-1960s. The genre was pioneered by the Byrds, who began playing traditional folk music and songs by Bob Dylan with rock instrumentation, in a style influenced by the Beatles and other British Invasion bands; the term "folk rock" was coined by the U.
S. music press to describe the Byrds' music in June 1965, the month in which the band's debut album was issued. Dylan contributed to the creation of the genre, with his recordings utilizing rock instrumentation on the albums Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde. In a broader sense, folk rock encompasses inspired musical genres and movements in different regions of the world. Folk rock may lean more towards either folk or rock in instrumentation and vocal style, choice of material. While the original genre draws on music of Europe and North America, there is no clear delineation of which other culture's music might be included as influences; the term is not associated with blues-based rock music, African American music, Cajun-based rock music, nor music with non-European folk roots. There are some exceptions; the American folk-music revival began during the 1940s. In 1948, Seeger formed the Weavers, whose mainstream popularity set the stage for the folk revival of the 1950s and early 1960s and served to bridge the gap between folk, popular music, topical song.
The Weavers' sound and repertoire of traditional folk material and topical songs directly inspired the Kingston Trio, a three-piece folk group who came to prominence in 1958 with their hit recording of "Tom Dooley". The Kingston Trio provided the template for a flood of "collegiate folk" groups between 1958 and 1962. At the same time as these "collegiate folk" vocal groups came to national prominence, a second group of urban folk revivalists, influenced by the music and guitar picking styles of folk and blues artist such as Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Brownie McGhee, Josh White came to the fore. Many of these urban revivalists were influenced by recordings of traditional American music from the 1920s and 1930s, reissued by Folkways Records. While this urban folk revival flourished in many cities, New York City, with its burgeoning Greenwich Village coffeehouse scene and population of topical folk singers, was regarded as the centre of the movement. Out of this fertile environment came such folk-protest luminaries as Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Peter and Mary, many of whom would transition into folk rock performers as the 1960s progressed.
The vast majority of the urban folk revivalists shared a disdain for the values of mainstream American mass culture and led many folk singers to begin composing their own "protest" material. The influence of this folk-protest movement would manifest itself in the sociopolitical lyrics and mildly anti-establishment sentiments of many folk rock songs, including hit singles such as "Eve of Destruction", "Like a Rolling Stone", "For What It's Worth", "Let's Live for Today". During the 1950s and early 1960s in the UK, a parallel folk revival referred to as the second British folk revival, was led by folk singers Ewan MacColl and Bert Lloyd. Both viewed British folk music as a vehicle for leftist political concepts and an antidote to the American-dominated popular music of the time. However, it wasn't until 1956 and the advent of the skiffle craze that the British folk revival crossed over into the mainstream and connected with British youth culture. Skiffle renewed popularity of folk music forms in Britain and led directly to the progressive folk movement and the attendant B
Glendale is a city in Los Angeles County, United States. Its estimated 2014 population was 200,167, making it the third-largest city in Los Angeles County and the 23rd-largest city in California, it is located about 8 mi north of downtown Los Angeles. Glendale lies in the southeastern end of the San Fernando Valley, bisected by the Verdugo Mountains, is a suburb in the Los Angeles metropolitan area; the city is bordered to the northwest by the Sun Tujunga neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The Golden State, Ventura and Foothill freeways run through the city. Glendale is known to have one of the largest communities of Armenian descent in the United States. In 2013, Glendale was named LA's Neighborhood of the Year by the editors of Curbed.com. Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery contains the remains of many noted celebrities and local residents. Grand Central Airport was the departure point for the first commercial west-to-east transcontinental flight flown by Charles Lindbergh; the area was long inhabited by the Tongva people, who were renamed the Gabrieleños by the Spanish missionaries, after the nearby Mission San Gabriel Arcángel.
In 1798, José María Verdugo, a corporal in the Spanish army from Baja California, received the Rancho San Rafael from Governor Diego de Borica, formalizing his possession and use of land on which he had been grazing livestock and farming since 1784. Rancho San Rafael was a Spanish concession. Unlike the Mexican land grants, the concessions were similar to grazing permits, with the title remaining with the Spanish crown. In 1860, his grandson Teodoro Verdugo built the Verdugo Adobe, the oldest building in Glendale; the property is the location of the Oak of Peace, where early Californio leaders including Pio Pico met in 1847 and decided to surrender to Lieutenant Colonel John C. Frémont. Verdugo's descendants sold the ranch in various parcels, some of which are included in present-day Atwater Village, Eagle Rock, Highland Park neighborhoods of Los Angeles. In 1884, residents gathered to form a townsite and chose the name "Glendale" (it was bounded by First Street on the north, Fifth Street on the south, Central Avenue on the west, the Childs Tract on the east.
Residents to the southwest formed "Tropico" in 1887. The Pacific Electric Railway brought streetcar service in 1904. Glendale incorporated in 1906, annexed Tropico 12 years later. An important civic booster of the era was Leslie Coombs Brand, who built an estate in 1904 called El Miradero, featuring an eye-catching mansion, the architecture of which combined characteristics of Spanish and Indian styles, copied from the East Indian Pavilion at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, which he visited. Brand loved to fly, built a private airstrip in 1919 and hosted "fly-in" parties, providing a direct link to the soon-to-be-built nearby Grand Central Airport; the grounds of El Miradero are now city-owned Brand Park and the mansion is the Brand Library, according to the terms of his will. Brand partnered with Henry E. Huntington to bring the Pacific Electric Railway, or the "Red Cars", to the area. Today, he is memorialized by one of Brand Boulevard; the city's population rose from 13,756 in 1920 to 62,736 in 1930.
The Forest Lawn Cemetery opened in 1906 and was renamed Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in 1917. Pioneering endocrinologist and entrepreneur Henry R. Harrower opened his clinic in Glendale in 1920, which for many years was the largest business in the city; the American Green Cross, an early conservation and tree preservation society, was formed in 1926. Until as late as the 1960s, Glendale was a sundown town. Nonwhites were required to leave city limits by a certain time each day or risk arrest and possible violence. In the 1930s, Glendale and Burbank prevented the Civilian Conservation Corps from stationing African American workers in a local park, citing sundown town ordinances that both cities had adopted. In 1964, Glendale was selected by George Lincoln Rockwell to be the West Coast headquarters of the American Nazi Party, its offices, on Colorado Street in the downtown section of the city, remained open until the early 1980s. In 1977 and 1978, 10 murdered women were found in and around Glendale in what became known as the case of the Hillside Strangler.
The murders were the work of Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, the latter of whom resided at 703 East Colorado Street, where most of the murders took place. Glendale is located at the junction of the San Fernando and the San Gabriel. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 79.212 km2. It is bordered to the north by the foothill communities of La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Tujunga. Glendale is located 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Several known earthquake faults criss-cross the Glendale area and adjacent mountains, as in much of Southern California. Among the more recognized faults are the
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and west to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, was one of the original seven Confederate states, it was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state's capital and most populous city, has been named a global city.
Atlanta's metropolitan area contains about 55% of the population of the entire state. Georgia is bordered to the north by Tennessee and North Carolina, to the northeast by South Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by Florida, to the west by Alabama; the state's northernmost part is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains system. The Piedmont extends through the central part of the state from the foothills of the Blue Ridge to the Fall Line, where the rivers cascade down in elevation to the coastal plain of the state's southern part. Georgia's highest point is Brasstown Bald at 4,784 feet above sea level. Of the states east of the Mississippi River, Georgia is the largest in land area. Before settlement by Europeans, Georgia was inhabited by the mound building cultures; the British colony of Georgia was founded by James Oglethorpe on February 12, 1733. The colony was administered by the Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America under a charter issued by King George II.
The Trustees implemented an elaborate plan for the colony's settlement, known as the Oglethorpe Plan, which envisioned an agrarian society of yeoman farmers and prohibited slavery. The colony was invaded by the Spanish during the War of Jenkins' Ear. In 1752, after the government failed to renew subsidies that had helped support the colony, the Trustees turned over control to the crown. Georgia became a crown colony, with a governor appointed by the king; the Province of Georgia was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution by signing the 1776 Declaration of Independence. The State of Georgia's first constitution was ratified in February 1777. Georgia was the 10th state to ratify the Articles of Confederation on July 24, 1778, was the 4th state to ratify the United States Constitution on January 2, 1788. In 1829, gold was discovered in the North Georgia mountains leading to the Georgia Gold Rush and establishment of a federal mint in Dahlonega, which continued in operation until 1861.
The resulting influx of white settlers put pressure on the government to take land from the Cherokee Nation. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, sending many eastern Native American nations to reservations in present-day Oklahoma, including all of Georgia's tribes. Despite the Supreme Court's ruling in Worcester v. Georgia that U. S. states were not permitted to redraw Indian boundaries, President Jackson and the state of Georgia ignored the ruling. In 1838, his successor, Martin Van Buren, dispatched federal troops to gather the tribes and deport them west of the Mississippi; this forced relocation, known as the Trail of Tears, led to the death of over 4,000 Cherokees. In early 1861, Georgia became a major theater of the Civil War. Major battles took place at Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta. In December 1864, a large swath of the state from Atlanta to Savannah was destroyed during General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea. 18,253 Georgian soldiers died in service one of every five who served.
In 1870, following the Reconstruction Era, Georgia became the last Confederate state to be restored to the Union. With white Democrats having regained power in the state legislature, they passed a poll tax in 1877, which disenfranchised many poor blacks and whites, preventing them from registering. In 1908, the state established a white primary, they constituted 46.7% of the state's population in 1900, but the proportion of Georgia's population, African American dropped thereafter to 28% due to tens of thousands leaving the state during the Great Migration. According to the Equal Justice Institute's 2015 report on lynching in the United States, Georgia had 531 deaths, the second-highest total of these extralegal executions of any state in the South; the overwhelming number of victims were male. Political disfranchisement persisted through the mid-1960s, until after Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. An Atlanta-born Baptist minister, part of the educated middle class that had developed in Atlanta's African-American community, Martin Luther King, Jr. emerged as a national leader in the civil rights movement.
King joining with others to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta in 1957 to provide political leadership for the Civil Rights Movement across the South. By the 1960s, the proportion of
The electric mandolin is an instrument tuned and played as the mandolin and amplified in similar fashion to an electric guitar. As with electric guitars, electric mandolins take many forms: Most common is a carved-top eight-string instrument fitted with an electric pickup in similar fashion to many arch top guitars. Solid body mandolins are common in 4-, 5-, 8-string forms. Acoustic electric and semi-acoustic mandolins exist in many forms. Electric mandolins were built in the United States as early as the late 1920s. Among the first companies to produce them were Stromberg-Voisinet, Vivi-Tone, National. Gibson and Vega introduced their electric mandolins in 1936. In the United States, luthier/inventor Paul Bigsby began building solidbody electric mandolins in 1949, his first one was built for Al Giddings. Bigsby's most famous mandolin, built in 1952, was owned and played by Western swing musician Tiny Moore; this instrument had five single courses rather than the more common four double courses, was patterned after a similar instrument built by Jim Harvey of La Jolla, for a player named Scotty Broyles.
Gibson and Rickenbacker introduced solid-body eight-string mandolins in the 1950s, while Fender followed the single-course idea with its four-string version. A related instrument, the Bahian guitar, was developed in Brazil beginning in the 1940s. Bahian guitars have a solid body and four or five strings tuned in fifths, but are considered to be electric versions of the cavaquinho rather than the mandolin. Both four-string single-course and eight-string double-course solid body mandolins have been produced by several makers, as well as five-string models combining the tonal ranges of the mandola and mandolin. From 1956 to 1976, Fender produced a four-string version, the Fender Electric Mandolin, with a body shape was based loosely on the Stratocaster, popularly nicknamed the "Mandocaster." More Fender produced an eight-string semi-acoustic electric mandolin with a similar body shape, reissued as the Mando-Strat in both four- and eight-string models. Gibson manufactured the EM-200 solid-body electric mandolin from 1954 to 1971.
They produced a solid-body mandolin known as the Mandobird, based on the Gibson Firebird body and sold under the Epiphone label, in both four- and eight-string versions. Eastwood Guitars manufactured a solid-body eight-string electric mandolin as the "Mandocaster" with a Telecaster-style body and two single-coil pickups.. While the electric mandolin has increased in popularity along with its acoustic cousin, there are still few recordings featuring it as a lead instrument on more than a song or two; the following artists have issued full-length recordings prominently featuring an electric mandolin throughout: Tiny Moore Yank Rachell John Kruth Mark Heard Michael Kang/String Cheese Incident Uppalapu Srinivas Warren Ellis Nash the Slash Kevin Jonas Ben Mink Charles O'Connor of Horslips Emando.com Mandobird 4 at the Epiphone website. Fender Electric Mandolin collector's site. Mando-Strat at the Fender website. Mandocaster at the Eastwood Guitars website
L'Abri is an evangelical Christian organization founded by Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith in Huémoz-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, on June 5, 1955. They opened their alpine home as a ministry to curious travellers and as a forum to discuss philosophical and religious beliefs. Today, L'Abri houses in various parts of the world continue to offer people a place to stay when they travel. Schaeffer became an evangelical Christian as a teenager. In 1947, Francis and Edith moved to Switzerland to work as missionaries for the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions in Europe. Following a spiritual crisis in 1951, disagreements with theologians such as Carl McIntire and his wife left IBPFM in 1955, to pursue their dream of working with young people, they moved to Huémoz. Word-of-mouth soon led to an increasing stream of visitors, with one period in the summer of 1956 averaging 31 visitors per week. International distribution of tapes of Schaeffer's lectures helped to raise awareness of Schaeffer's work.
As it grew, the L'Abri organization came to operate several buildings in Huémoz. It came to include four kinds of people: short-term guests. Schaeffer died in 1984. Now, L'Abri has operations in a number of different countries, each staffed by workers who encourage visitors to study and consider their religious and philosophical beliefs; as of 2011, L'Abri has residential "Study Centres" in the United States, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, as well as the original centre in Switzerland. It has non-residential "Resource Centres", run by friends of the organisation, in Brazil and Germany. A L'Abri centre is not a retreat, a commune, or a seminary, although it incorporates elements of all of these. Visitors are referred to as students, personal study remains central to L'Abri's work, but there are no fixed "classes" or courses. Rather students meet with a member of staff to discuss the issues they wish to study, are recommended resources from L'Abri's library of books and of recorded lectures and talks by L'Abri staff and others.
A student's day is divided into "study time" and "work time." During "work time," a student will help with the necessary activities of the community – cooking meals, maintenance etc. This division is based on Schaeffer's constant emphasis that Christianity, the work of L'Abri, were not only intellectual but had to incorporate all of life, that a demonstration of "Christian Community" was as central to L'Abri's work as the intellectual demonstration that he believed could be made of the reasonableness and truthfulness of Christian belief; the importance of Schaeffer's belief in the relevance of Christianity to all of life can be seen in many aspects of L'Abri. So, some articles have suggested there is less of an emphasis on serving philosophical skeptics and more of an emphasis on serving disaffected evangelicals. In a recent article on the group, Molly Worthen suggests that students today come with different questions, that they tend to look at the politicized evangelical faith that Schaeffer helped create with suspicion.
The L'Abri day revolves around communal meals used as an opportunity for formal open discussion, students are encouraged to pursue interests in art and literature. Apart from Francis and Edith Schaeffer and their children, several notable Evangelical authors have been influenced by working with L'Abri; such former staff include Os Guinness, Hans Rookmaaker, Greg Laughery, Wade Bradshaw,The L'Abri study center in Rochester, Minnesota organizes bi-annual "L'Abri Conferences" in the USA and Canada at which L'Abri staff from across the world and other speakers supportive of the vision of L'Abri speak and lead seminars on a wide range of topics. In 2005, a conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the organization, over 1,000 attendees were present to hear speakers such as Os Guinness, Harold O. J. Brown, Chuck Colson. Thirty years ago Edith Schaeffer founded The Francis Schaeffer Foundation to receive her husband's papers and annotated books for scanning and subsequent study.
This takes place under the direction of her son in law Udo Middelmann, who worked with Francis Schaeffer in L'Abri for seventeen years, where he was Francis Schaeffer's associate pastor in Huémoz. He has written several books and there is a website with many lectures and information. Ideas, as Francis Schaeffer stated have consequences, why he asked people to not " start L'Abris", but rather take the ideas they had learned with him, develop them in their own fields. Bradshaw, Wade, By demonstration: God – Fifty years and a week at L'Abri, Piquant Editions, ISBN 1-903689-33-3. Burson, Scott R. and Walls, Jerry L. C. S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer: Lessons for a new century from the most influential apologists of our time, InterVarsity Press, ISBN 0-8308-1935-5. Hankins, Francis Schaeffer and the Shaping of Evangelical America, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN 0-8028-6389-2. Parkhurst, Louis Gifford and Edith Schaeffer, Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers. Schaeffer, Edith, L'Abri, Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
Schaeffer, The Tapestry, Waco, TX: Word Books
Pierce Pettis is an American singer-songwriter from Fort Payne, Alabama. A former staff writer for PolyGram Publishing in Nashville, Pettis' musical career was started in 1979 when Joan Baez covered one of his songs, "Song at the End of the Movie", on her album Honest Lullaby. Following that release, Pettis became involved in the "Fast Folk movement" in New York in the 1980s alongside artists such as Shawn Colvin and Suzanne Vega. In 1984, Pettis released Moments. Signing with High Street Records in 1989, he made three albums with them: While the Serpent Lies Sleeping in 1989. None of these releases made Pettis a household name, but his music became popular with other artists; the production on While the Serpent Lies Sleeping is erratic trying to balance a folk-rock sound with Pierce's introspective and introverted lyrics. Pettis and producer Doug Jansen Smith argued over the production, did not work with each other subsequently. Mark Heard, Pettis's own choice as producer for Tinseltown gave that album a more straightforward folk sound, with the occasional touch of bluegrass or rock.
The lyrics are more provocative, the album includes a few tracks that are protest songs. Heard and Pettis became close friends, after Heard's untimely death in 1992, Pettis made a decision to include a Mark Heard song on every subsequent album of his own until Heard's songwriting abilities gained greater attention, a practice Pettis continues to this day. Chase the Buffalo, undoubtedly the most lyrically rich album of the High Street years, established Pettis as a "songwriter's songwriter" and further developed the solid folk atmosphere of the previous album, adding more prominent bass and percussion instruments and starting to move away from keyboard sounds. Lyrically the album struck a fine balance between songs looking outward; when Pettis's contract with High Street ended, he signed with Compass Records, where he has remained since. 1996 saw his first release with them, Making Light of It, a low-key collection of songs, the majority returning to an introspective demeanor and tone, produced by David Miner, featuring Derri Daugherty and Steve Hindalong of The Choir.
Musically, "roots folk" would not be a bad description. Everything Matters followed in 1998, with an increased tempo overall and a few regionally oriented songs that explored and celebrated Southern cities and personalities; the music of this record was a delicate and successful blend of a more sparse "roots folk" sound backed by solid bass and percussion and produced by Grammy award winning artist Gordon Kennedy. 2001 saw Pettis's most regionally oriented album, State of Grace released, with a fuller, more straightforwardly folk tone and atmosphere. 2004's Great Big World record saw Pettis collaborating with a number of other songwriters for the majority of the tracks, with a still-present regional tendency, similar sound musically to the previous album. The album's cover art was painted by the southern folk artist Terry Cannon. Great Big World featured musicians like Kenny Malone on percussion and bassist Danny Thompson of Pentangle fame. In 2009 That Kind of Love included less of a regional focus with a collection of mid-tempo and contemplative songs, although the three cover tracks on the album, from Mark Heard, Jesse Winchester, Woody Guthrie, are uptempo blues or bluegrass.
2013 saw Pettis, along with Tom Kimmel and Kate Campbell, form The New Agrarians and release a debut album on the independent Due South label. Pettis tours alternating between solo shows, concerts with The New Agrarians, a double bill with his daughter Grace Pettis. Pettis's songs have been covered by artists like Dar Williams, Garth Brooks, Dion & the Belmonts, Sara Groves, Randy Stonehill, Pat Alger, others. Pettis himself has covered one of Mark Heard's songs on every album since 1993; these are: "Nod Over Coffee" on Chase the Buffalo. Pettis's cover of "Nod Over Coffee" appeared on a 1994 tribute album to Heard entitled Strong Hand of Love. On 11/15/18 Pettis announced a 1/18/19 release of Father's Son, his first new album in nearly 10 years, on Compass Records. Moments While the Serpent Lies Sleeping While the Serpent Lies Sleeping Tinseltown Chase the Buffalo Making Light of It Everything Matters State of Grace Great Big World That Kind of Love New Agrarians as a part of the trio The New Agrarians Father's Son Legacy: A Collection of New Folk Music A Winter's Solstice, Vol. III featuring "In the Bleak Midwinter" Strong Hand of Love, tribute to Mark Heard, 1994 featuring "Nod Over Coffee" Orphans of God, tribute to Mark Heard, 1996 featuring "Nod Over Coffee" Aliens and Strangers featuring "Kingdom Come" Beat (Silent Planet, 2001 featuring "Absalom, Absalom" "Pierce Pettis: When Words Alone Fail", by Jason Killingsworth, Issue 11.
Pierce Pettis of