Like many folk musicians, Joshua Christopher wants to use music to make the world a better place. “i am Love was born after my visit to post-earthquake Haiti,” he says. “I wrote Starting Over on the trip and decided to release it to help raise awareness for Haitian run charities.”
Christopher grew up in the Pennsylvania countryside outside of Philadelphia, an area deeply rooted in early American culture. “This is where many of our founding fathers lived when they birthed this great nation,” he explains. “The countryside has a strong influence on our style of living, as well as our music. I sing a lot about overcoming difficult times, but with an overall sense of hopefulness. I want to make music that will generate good feelings.”
At first, Christopher thought i am Love would be a solo singer/songwriter project. He started working on the EP with his friend William Whitmire, who soon became i am Love’s bass player.
With seven musicians that could contribute cello, viola, flugelhorn, violin, trumpet, harp, banjo, eclectic drumming and other musical textures, i am Love went into the studio to lay down the tracks for Starting Over. “Since I’d only made music on my own in the past, writing parts and communicating what I wanted while letting each musician have creative input was a new process. The other players often knew what to do without being told; we quickly became a band, not a singer with backing musicians.”
The songs on Starting Over were cut at Woodcrest Studio in West Chester, Pa., with engineer and band member Tom Zartler. The band’s warm, open sound comes through on the recordings, with arrangements that allow every instrument to shine. The melody of “Starting Over” is based on a traditional three-chord rock turn around, with cello creating a dark sonority to compliment Christopher’s plaintive vocal. It may have been inspired by Haiti, but the lyric will resonate with anyone struggling for a better life.
Trumpets sound the clarion call to action on the aptly named “Trumpets and Cliffs”, a song that has an anthemic quality that could make it the theme song of the current Occupy Movement with the line, “they keep taking from the small man, but know your not that small man.” The song’s Biblical images suggest apocalypse and salvation, but Christopher’s joyful “Hallelujah” closes the song on a jubilant note. “Truest” uses a reverberating drum loop brought on by Zartler’s Orchestral drum, rippling acoustic guitars, jittery cellos and an anxious vocal to portray the excitement of true love. It implies the often-contradictory feelings of a new relationship with a few, well-chosen words and an aching melody.
Christopher has walked through the fire and come out a stronger man. Most of the songs on Starting Over were composed after recovering from a near fatal accident. “I ran into a tractor trailer and spent twelve months convalescing from the crash,” he explains. “I didn’t listen to any music that year, but I wrote myself to life with these songs. I’d sit and meditate while strumming my guitar; the melodies and lyrics just coming to me from the great beyond. Life has been difficult for me at times, but there is a sense of spirituality that drives me on to continue.
Jamie Cramer - Piano, Cello
Joshua Christopher - Vocals, Guitar, Violin and Mandolin
william (Burlap Bill) Whitmire - Electric Bass, Acoustic bass
Crystal Brulato - Vocals, Sax, flute, Clarinet
Kris Jackson - Percussion
Kelcie Hillard - Trumpet, Viola, Basoon
Truest 7' released in December 2011.
Starting Over full length to come in fall 2012
introducing i am Love
[+ Show ]
The two tracks on Pennsylvanian acoustic orchestra i am Love’s forthcoming Truest 7 inch represent b...The two tracks on Pennsylvanian acoustic orchestra i am Love’s forthcoming Truest 7 inch represent both the personal and the global sides of revolution. The beautifully paced ebb and flow of the rich, thoughtful title track, written by band leader Joshua Christopher after a near-fatal car accident, celebrates a return to life after tragedy.
The B-side, Trumpets and Cliffs is more anthemic, a clarion call to action that could make it the theme song of the current Occupy Movement. The two songs together show the spectrum of what the self-described folkster band can do with the wide array of instruments including trumpets and flugelhorn at their disposal
We have a full 90 minute set of all originals, although you might here an obscure cover in the mix if time allows depending on the gig.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.