Here’s “I’m A Sinner” from Austin-based foursome Starlings, TN’s Preachin’ to the Choir out today on Chicken Ranch Records.
The record is comprised of covers of gospel songs that Stubblefield grew up with, along with a handful of like-minded originals written from his unique perspective.
This particular rollicking down home tune is a foot-tapping testimony to the band’s solid songwriting and performance chops.
"I tried to come at 'I'm A Sinner' in the same way that John Lennon approached ‘Nowhere Man’ when he proposed the question, ‘Isn't he a bit like you and me?’ instead of assigning blame and pointing fingers. When singing gospel songs, it's important to me to not sound preachy. I don't judge others, I want to provoke thought,” says Steven Stubblefield of Starlings, TN
“I didn’t realize until recently just how close ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ was to my real life,” Stubblefield says, recounting his upbringing. Born in a tobacco farming community outside of Louisville, at three-years-old the family moved to Magnolia, Arkansas, the town where his mother grew up. Stubblefield’s father became the pastor at the Southern Baptist church in Magnolia, and his grandparents on his mother’s side lived down the street, after having spent time residing in the local jail.
“My mother actually lived in a jail cell for about a year while she was in high school,” Stubblefield explains. “Papaw was the sheriff of Columbia County at the time, and part of his compensation was housing, which happened to be a ground floor of the two-story jail. So, they sold their house and moved in.”
With close ties to these two seemingly dissimilar worlds, it’s no wonder that Stubblefield would find a life in music through his relationship with the church.
“It was because of the gospel that I heard growing up that I first found my passion for music,” he recalls. “I sang in the choir as far back as I can remember, and that continued all the way through high school.”
While the traditional songs on Preachin’ To The Choir have their roots in musical history, Stubblefield’s approach to the recordings was inspired by his distaste for modern “praise music,” as he refers to it. “I find it soulless and repetitious,” he says of modern gospel songs. So Stubblefield set out to do the music justice in his own way.
“In 1999, I purchased my first dulcimer and started taking lessons from David Schnaufer,” the band’s leader Steven Stubblefield remembers. The late Schnaufer, famed dulcimer player and instructor (Cyndi Lauper was a student), was widely credited with restoring the cultural popularity of the instrument. “Some of those earliest songs we learned were the old time gospel songs,” Stubblefield says.
Preachin’ To The Choir by Starlings, TN arrives on January 27th, 2015. “I’m A Sinner,” a Steven Stubblefield original that serves as the album’s first single, is streaming now.
Find out more at http://www.starlingstn.info