Through each decade of triumphs and tragedies, our musical heroines and heroes have inspired us by tapping into our collective angst and anger, and then translating those emotions into song, releasing timeless tracks that are appreciated and adored from one generation to the next.
2017 is definitely one for the world’s-gone-mad record books, making Stephen Emmer’s Home Ground, released in June of this year, highly relevant as it resonates with political and socially-powered lyrics of this time in history while inspired by defiant, classic soul tracks from Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Gil Scott-Heron, and Billie Holiday that wielded “an iron fist with a velvet glove.”
On Friday, October 27, Emmer’s Home Ground celebration arrives in Los Angeles, hosted by The Bloom Effect at The Virgil in Silver Lake, featuring two of the guest vocalists from the album, Ursula Rucker (who also contributed lyrics, in addition to Emmer, Glen Gregory, and THE Chaka Khan) and Dwight Trible.
“One is never lonely or alone / When one is home,” speaks Rucker of the redefinition of the meaning of home on “Soil,” which bounces with elegant finesse while grounded in unity. On other tracks, Kendra Foster sings of hope and inspiration on “Soul Glow” and Mary Griffin inspires power-to-the-people hope for a better world on “Place Delight.”
That Lou Rawls “You’ll never find…” late 70’s feelin’ and wha wha guitar is woven throughout “Everybody’s Movin’” featuring Trible’s glorious vocals, accompanied by a big sound orchestra of sax, keyboards, drums, and horns. “The Home Ground project is really what my life is about,” said Trible. “All of my life I’ve felt that all of humanity was something that was complete and connected and one. I think that this project is giving that message. I think that the whole world knows that we are all one. We are all connected. We are all brothers and sisters.”
If there’s one thing you can’t say about Emmer’s songwriting explorations is he boxes himself into a specific genre and stays there. His late 70’s new wave electro band, Minny Pops, was on Factory Records and hailed by John Peele back in the day, having opened for Joy Division and then New Order. Minny Pops released the 2014 Sparks in a Dark Room, adding to Emmer’s other musical endeavors, from composing for Dutch TV and playing in The Associates and The Lotus Eater, to the 2006 spoken work project Recitement featuring Allen Ginsburg, Lou Reed, and Richard Burton.
In light of Home Ground’s theme of conflict between nations, races, religions, and economic classes, Emmers includes a giving-back component within the project by supporting War Child, the non-profit that devotes itself to helping children from conflict affected areas to heal and thrive through music and art. A portion of the proceeds will go towards War Child’s efforts to help these citizens of the world, typically caught in the middle of conflicts, and to increase awareness of their impact.