Lauded American singer Lizz Wright's latest project, Grace, reveals the web of deep-running roots of story and song that bind together the vastly diverse traditions that are the soul of the American South. Wright summons her Southern heritage and the spirit of the earth to usher us into a nurturing space that pulses and hums with the unspoken suggestion that grace is a cornerstone of our original state of being. Produced by acclaimed singer and songwriter Joe Henry, Grace is a stark reflection of Wright's sense of place and belonging that's deeply woven into the cultural fabric of America.
Grace was tracked live on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles alongside a standout cast of musicians at United Recording Studios – the sessions feature her nearly 20-year collaboration with Atlanta-based pianist and choir director Kenny Banks Sr., special guest guitarist Marc Ribot, bassist David Piltch, guitarists Chris Bruce and Marvin Sewell, drummer Jay Bellerose, and keyboardist Patrick Warren. An expansive collection of 10 songs and an original co-write with Maia Sharp ("All the Way Here"), Grace is Wright's testament of devotion to speaking and embodying the fullness of her humanity through music. Her most clear statement to date, Grace finds Wright standing center stage in the complex dialogues of coexistence and interdependence between all walks of life.
The vast landscapes portrayed on Grace are brimming with Wright's singular translations of music by Ray Charles, Allen Toussaint, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, k.d. lang, Bob Dylan, Frank Perkins and Mitchell Parish, as well as emerging artists Rose Cousins and Birds of Chicago. From a body of about 70 covers collected primarily by Joe Henry, 10 works were selected that mirror Wright's rural upbringing and the trail of stories and songs that have brought her to the world stage. Having a strong sense of intention to speak of grace from the inception of the project, Wright forwent writing the title track after hearing "Grace" by Rose Cousins – the first title track she didn't compose from her catalog of six studio recordings.