Mo Leverett
Gig Seeker Pro

Mo Leverett

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Band Americana Blues

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"Mo Leverett In Katrina's Wake, A Song of Hope"

In regards to Blades of Love-
It’s a gritty slice of hard-won hope, with Leverett’s growling, Macon, Ga.-bred voice and acoustic guitar augmented by horns, piano and upbeat grooves that provide touches of his adopted Crescent City home.
-Reid Davis Paste Magazine
Issue 19, Published online on 08 Dec 2005
- Paste Magazine


"Mo Leverett - The Sacrament Of Life"

This CD is moving, funny and funky resonating with a wonderful mix of jazz, blues, soul and funk. The 12 here songs exude energy and enthusiasm for life and the wonder of God's work among the poor. "Holding On To Randy" is perhaps the saddest of the songs, written from the point of view of one of Mo's co-workers, who lost both of his brothers to suicide. However, for the most part these songs are full of joy, in spite of the harsh surroundings that they often spring from. The recording is spot on, with wonderful percussion and accompanying instruments. There are touches of Santana, Van Morrison and Paul Simon hidden away, but the clearest influence is geographical, a dirty, southern blues. The musicianship is of such a high standard that every song is a pleasure to listen to.

Ewan Jones
Published Monday 21st May 2007 - crossrhythms.co.uk


Discography

Of Orphans and Kings (2007)
Blades of Love (2005)
Poetic Justice (2003)
Sacrament of Life (2002)
If You Know What I Mean (1998)
Tendermercies (1996)
Sacred Desires (1995)
Benefit of Desire

Photos

Bio

Though he has thousands of fans, has released ten critically acclaimed CDs, and has earned accolades for his life-defining work on behalf of the poor and downtrodden, Mo Leverett is certainly not famous. However, everyone interested in social justice in the city of New Orleans seems to know him. One young, black, former gang member called him “The white Tupac,” while local pastors, government officials and community advocates go on and on about the impact he has had in the Desire Community, one of the worst housing projects in America and the bulls-eye for Hurricane Katrina two years ago. The ministry he worked so hard to build over eighteen years was deluged and the vast majority of his neighbors in the ninth ward have never returned, but Leverett remains hard at work all the same. Though he had to flee the area during the storm as his humble Desire home and everything in it was lost, he returned with a passion to continue loving his neighbors the best he could. As the weeks and months passed he captured the incredible, soul-shaking experience in a batch of songs as gritty and soulful as the city he insists on calling home.

Leverett’s story is an amazing one. Moved by a call to bring hope and light to the inner city while in seminary, he moved his young family into an area the Department of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) deemed one of the worst housing projects in America. Through after school programs with young men and sheer dogged determination to make a difference, the ministry he founded, Desire Street Ministries, flourished, eventually owning a large community center that served hundreds of area youth. In addition to his work as a mentor, coach, advocate and confidant, Leverett quietly released his own heartfelt acoustic roots music informed by his street level view of life in the Crescent City. His ministry work and his music came from the same place and could not be separated. “My art probably makes no sense outside of the context of this work,” Leverett explains, “and I know I couldn’t have hung in there this long without music as a means to process the reality I was faced with on a day-to-day basis.” Lauded in places as diverse as Christian radio and darkened taverns, his music fell somewhere between Gospel, Americana and protest-era folk. “People call it a lot of different things,” he adds with a grin, “I’m just really glad some folks have gotten so much out of it.”

Nowhere is his musical vision more clearly captured than on his latest independent CD, Of Orphans and Kings. Colored by some of Nashville’s finest country and blues musicians, these songs born of suffering and amazing grace paint a haunting, and deeply satisfying portrait of true love in the midst of pain. From rollicking blues jams to disquietingly vulnerable confessions of fear and doubt, the songs that make up this incredible record draw a rugged picture of a faith big enough to handle the storms life brings. “It’s probably not for everyone,” Leverett admits, “but I just didn’t know how else to tell these stories. Katrina and her aftermath were, and are, the kind of events we can’t really understand. Any kind of simplistic response would have been untrue.”

Despite the sobering subject matter, Of Orphans and Kings is far from a downer. “It’s amazing that this joy somehow crawls back from under the wreckage,” he muses. “I know that I feel closer to God and more confident of my calling to serve him by serving these people than I ever have. The water certainly carried with it the power to destroy, but in the darkest hours God’s peace shines brightest. I know my faith has been encouraged through this time and I hope these songs reflect that.”

Though Leverett has returned to New Orleans, the ministry he founded has not. Instead he is launching a new effort called Rebirth International, expanding on the original vision of Desire Street Ministries as he trains young people with hands-on inner city ministry. Leverett is traveling the US and abroad with stories and songs about his beloved home, and a message challenging people to increased action on behalf of the poor. He is a restless poet and a street-wise hero of the underclass eager to embrace any opportunity to speak, teach or perform; whatever it takes to get the story told and the vision of a better future cast for a new generation.

A fifteen minute mini-documentary about Mo and Rebirth International is available on-line at www.MyRebirth.org. His new CD Of Orphans and Kings may be purchased on-line in either physical or digital format. Mo is available for interviews, speaking engagements, concerts and teaching opportunities.

For more information or to schedule an interview, call Erin Lee at Gyroscope Arts at 630.272.4976 or email Erin@GyroscopeArts.com.