Trumpeter John Raymond, whose last album, the excellent Foreign Territory , came out less than a year ago (read an interview here), has a new disc, Real Feels, coming out February 12. (Pre-order it from Amazon.) It’s a departure from Foreign Territory in every way. That album contained all original tunes (played by Raymond, pianist Dan Tepfer, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Billy Hart) that took standards as their jumping-off points – “What Do You Hear” is based on “I Hear a Rhapsody,” “Deeper” is a variation on “How Deep is the Ocean,” et cetera.
Real Feels, by contrast, features versions of traditional tunes like “Scarborough Fair,” “Amazing Grace,” “This Land is Your Land,” and the tune we’re premiering today, the gospel song “I’ll Fly Away,” all performed by Raymond, guitarist Gilad Hekselman and drummer Colin Stranahan. (Real Feels isn’t 100% old-timey music; it also includes a version of “Atoms for Peace,” by the band of the same name fronted by Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke.)
Raymond says of “I’ll Fly Away”:
“When I think of this song, I think of all the times I’ve sung it in church with a sort of joyful abandon. The lyrics contrast the strain and weariness that life can bring with the exceeding joy heaven will one day be (i.e. ‘Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away/To a land where joy will never end, I’ll fly away’). The lyrics have this kind of recklessness and raw emotion to them, and while I didn’t mandate that we play it like this, Gilad and Colin interpreted the song in such a similar way to how I’d known it years prior. I didn’t do much with it in terms of the arrangement, as was the case with many of the songs on Real Feels. The goal was largely to present this song (as well as all the others) to the guys and let us interpret and put our stamp on the music in whatever way we were feeling in that moment. I wanted to allow for as much spontaneity as possible within the framework of these songs.”
Stream “I’ll Fly Away”: