Grammy winner Mike Farris captivates crowd


By Tammy Watts

GREENVILLE — Grammy winner Mike Farris, and his band, The Fortunate Few, graced Greenville with a high-energy concert, resulting in a lot of finger snapping, hand clapping, and toe tapping at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Sat., April 9. Farris even encouraged the audience to sing along several times throughout the nearly two hours of blues, soul, R & B, and gospel, often combining several genres in the same number.

“I’ve been told that Paul McCartney performs three-hour shows without taking a drink of water,” Farris commented, turning to sip from a travel mug. “I hate Paul McCartney,” he joked. While three hours without water is an impressive feat, no one at the concert held water breaks against Farris, whose incredibly powerful delivery and range left fans shaking their heads in amazement.

Farris sang “Tennessee Girl” and “Are You Lonely for me Baby?” from his upcoming album, “Silver and Stone,” set to be released on Compass Records Sept. 7. While his 2015 Grammy win was for his Roots Gospel album, “Shine for All the People,” his latest project is dedicated to his wife of 23 years, who helped him overcome addiction.

In keeping with gospel roots, he performed a rollicking version of “Ain’t No Grave,” before sending the band offstage, and switching to acoustic guitar to sing the hauntingly beautiful “John the Revelator.”

“Because you all are so nice; not everyone gets this,” Farris said, as he added a harmonica to the acoustic portion of the evening, playing it, and guitar, simultaneously.

The band returned for several more songs, including “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” before exiting. The audience was not having it, however, and stood clapping until Farris and The Fortunate Few returned.

Farris stopped a few audience members who were already on their way out, not realizing there would be an encore. “Where are you going? I know you’re not trying to beat traffic in Greenville, Ohio,” he laughed.

Farris ended with “Mercy Now,” transitioning into a chorus of “The Air that I Breathe,” providing a loving vibe that had everyone waving their hands in the air, and presumably feeling better about the world around them. Farris appeared in the foyer afterward, to sign autographs and shake hands. The unexpected personal touch was the perfect way to conclude the evening, and to apply the underlying message of being kind to others.

One young fan took the opportunity to compliment Farris, and thank him for coming. “I love this guy!” Farris exclaimed, “you just made my weekend.” It was apparent that for everyone in attendance, the feeling was mutual.

Daily Advocate reporter Tammy Watts can be reached at [email protected].

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