Chris Pizzello, AP
The album was conceived by multi-award-winning producer and writer Phil Madeira, who gathered together a group of musical (yet not necessarily "religious") friends with the purpose of imparting the positive message that all people -- no matter what creed, faith, sexual preference, race or political bias -- are children of God.
"When I was a young, my mother played me Mahalia Jackson, which introduced me to the reality of a bone chilling, soul-stirring music that made everything else pale in comparison," says Madeira, whose songs have been recorded by Alison Krauss, Toby Keith, Ricky Skaggs and Garth Brooks, among many others. "These were joyous odes to a Gospel that sang of the love and the dignity of all humanity. Watching the news during the last presidential election, I wondered why that message had been thrown out of what we hear in the national dialogue on religion, and replaced with exclusivity and mean-spiritedness."
"Not all hymns are found in the pocket on the back of the church pew," adds Emmylou Harris, who contributes 'I Didn't Know It Was You.' "Here are some for your consideration from folks who set up their tent out in the left part of the field."
'Mercyland' track listing:
'From This Valley,' The Civil Wars
'Give God the Blues,' Shawn Mullins
'I Believe in You,' Buddy Miller
'Lights in the Valley,' Carolina Chocolate Drops
'Mercyland,' Phil Madeira
'Walking Over Water,' Mat Kearney
'Leaning on You,' Cindy Morgan
'Fell Like a Feather,' Amy Stroup
'If I Was Jesus,' North Mississippi Allstars
'Light of Your Love,' Dan Tyminski
'I Didn't Know It Was You,' Emmylou Harris
'Peace in the Valley,' John Scofield