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The Sound of Freedom:

Music Behind Prison Walls

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We recorded a concept album addressing mass incarceration inside SCI-Graterford (now SCI-Phoenix) in 2016-2018, together with 25 incarcerated musicians. Since then, we’ve been recording outside musicians, who are the collaborators on this album, and have produced the 15 tracks, all of which address mass incarceration. We’ll be releasing the album in Fall 2022; until then, you can find several early releases up on Spotify and iTunes under Songs in the Key of Free. This album is unique in that it blends the incredible talent of inside and outside musicians on nearly every track. 

 

Here’s what these musicians grapple with every day: If you’re barred from public and civic life, if you’re someone who is seen as deserving of punishment and little else, how do you become self-aware? How do you become whole? To make the most of a life spent locked down, where your humanity is assailed sometimes on a daily basis, to grow into fullness of heart and mind behind a 40-foot- high wall, to maintain dignity and selfhood in the face of what is intended to be punitive and recriminatory, is colossal. Many of these men have been locked down 30 or 40 years or more–this album is a chance for their voices to be heard by all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The songs on this album tell that story: you’ll find intensely personal songs that reflect the very hard-won redemption these men have worked for for their entire lives; songs that will move you deeply because you too are human and you too grapple with the mistakes you’ve made and with your own failures, and you too need to be forgiven.

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UPDATES

The Songs in the Key of Free album drops Fall 2022!!

 

We’re incredibly fortunate to be working with two producers from Gangstagrass: Brian Farrow, as Creative Producer, and Rench as Producer. Rench started working at the end of 2019 to mix all the tracks and get them ready for release.

Brian Farrow is a multi-instrumental and multi-genre musician out of North Omaha, Nebraska. He currently tours with Gangstagrass, and the Grammy Award-winning Dom Flemons, the American Songster, and is on his recently released Black Cowboys album on the Smithsonian Folkways Label. As a duo, and sometimes as a trio, this pairing explores the roots of American music, highlighting its technique, style, African American legacy, and presentation in a modern context. The venture has taken him through the Grand Ole’ Opry, opening for the Grammy Award-winning Old Crow Medicine Show, the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and beyond. He’s also toured nationally and abroad with the acclaimed Americana band the Hackensaw Boys on double bass and the open-door-gospel-folk group Spirit Family Reunion on fiddle.
 

From Rench Audio website: “Based out of Brooklyn, Rench is an Emmy-nominated, billboard-charting musician and producer. He has been combining Country and Hip-Hop sounds for more than a decade, including solo material and projects like Gangstagrass. Rench also produces a variety of styles out of his Rench Audio production company - everything from pop to soul to folk to hip-hop. He produced the Maple Blues Award winning blues-gospel album “Send the Nightingale” by Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar. He produced the folk-soul album “Crossover” By Dan Whitener, which had a track placed in Spike Lee’s film “Black KKKlansman".

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