SOUNDS LIKE GRACE
One magical day in Nashville a group of artists time travelled to capture the soul of a song and bring emotions to music for a documentary soundtrack. The film is a love story called, “Met While Incarcerated” about strong, successful women who’ve fallen for a man who is in prison for a violent crime. The song is Amazing Grace.
No one who arrives to play in Addiction studios that day knows exactly what is going to happen. Singer Jadea Kelly has a mission, producer David Kalmusky has a vision, and session players Marc Rogers, Travis McNabb and Billy Justineau are musicians known for their ability to move through musical eras, but live in the moment. Over the course of the day Amazing Grace gets re-designed to remember its darker roots. Four versions from four different eras use the instruments of the day to echo in the loneliness of women whose only crime is loving a man in prison that the world would call monster.
It started when “Met While Incarcerated” producer Catherine Legge approached singer/songwriter Jadea Kelly to write music for the documentary.
“I was already a huge fan of Jadea’s music. Her voice is so pure and angelic but her lyrics are weighted with dark layers and emotions. The contrast in her songs has exactly the kind of tension this documentary does; that love demands you see past the pain. Beautiful love stories about people who’ve done terrible things.“
Legge told Jadea she heard a version of Amazing Grace in the documentary. Similar to the Christian concept of Grace, these women found these men because of their worst acts and then offered love despite them. What bond is stronger than a second chance? The song Amazing Grace was written by a redeemed slave trader after a near-death experience so it has dark origins and it’s the concept of rising from the depths, that makes it all the more meaningful.
"I love the version that Willie Nelson does in the minor key. It’s just so different from the gospel versions I was used to hearing and fit better with the people I was talking about. So I played it for her."
A couple of hours later Jadea was getting on a plane to Nashville. She sent Catherine a recording she made on her phone, singing the song and playing acoustic guitar.
"It sent chills over me. She got it. She was saying everything I needed the music to say."
Jadea was doing some writing in Nashville and approached a producer and longtime friend David Kalmusky about the idea of telling a new story with “Amazing Grace” for this film. And so the journey began.
THE HISTORY OF
Amazing Grace is a song of deep meaning and origins. The popular hymn describing the profound experience of being lifted out of the darkness is believed to be performed more than 10 million times annually, and it’s been recorded over 11,000 times.
The lyrics were written in 1772 by an Anglican priest named John Newton. The song told of his dramatic religious conversion after nearly dying in a shipwreck in 1948 after years working as a slave-trader. Decades later Newton became a priest and leading abolitionist. The lyrics were put to the popular tune New Britain and the two were first published together in 1947. Many believe that revivalist preachers of the era added versus written down by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” from 1852.
The song became a popular hit during the civil rights movement in 1970-72 when singer Judy Collins’ recording spent 67 weeks on the charts peaking at #5. It was a hit on British radio and lead to a bagpipe arrangement by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, a staple tribute at memorials for fallen soldiers, police officers and firemen. Former President Obama performed a few versus at the memorial service following the tragic church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.
The gospel hymn has since been made famous by artists Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, and Elvis. The version that inspired this new recording was performed by Willie Nelson.
Described by CBC as 'one of the shining jewels in the crown of Canadian songwriters' Jadea Kelly spends her time writing and living between Toronto and Los Angeles CA. In 2016 she was awarded 'Contemporary Singer of the Year' at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for her heartfelt 2016 release 'Love & Lust'. Its featured single 'Beauty' was placed on the Lifetime Network feature 'No One Would Tell' and the 2017 CBC Rio Paralympics, an opening montage with over 900,000 views.
DAVID KALMUSKY – PRODUCER
David Kalmusky is a multi-platinum Nashville based record producer, guitarist, engineer, mixer, songwriter, who’s work credits include Journey, Shawn Mendes, Keith Urban, Justin Bieber, John Oates, Tenille Townes, Joe Bonamassa, The Sisterhood, The Fray, Vince Gill, and Many, Many others.
3rd generation musician, David grew up in a rich history of professional musicians that date back to the 1930’s on both sides of his family, his father playing bass, and recording with The Hawks, Ian & Sylvia, Jerry Reed, Todd Rundgren, and many others.
David currently operates out of Addiction Sound Studios, in Nashville TN, which he helped design and build with Chris Huston (Led Zeppelin, The Who) and Jonathan Cain (The Baby’s, Bad English, Journey) His private production & mixing room have been featured international publications such as Pro Sound News, Billboard Magazine, and GrammyPro.com
Old Ludwig Drum Kit from 1950’s pieced together from marching band instruments.
Electric Jazz Bass
1962 Jazz Bass, formerly owned by Kenny Kalmusky, it was used with Ian & Sylvia,
Todd Rundgren, Jerry Reed, and was Kenny’s main instrument for most of his life. Played through an
Ampex Port o Flex amp with the serial Number 0005 (may have been the 5th one ever made).
1938 RCA PB90
Microphone from the mid-1930's. Version Telefunken u47 used by Journey, the Allman Brothers,
and many contemporary Nashville and San Francisco artists.
Roland Jupiter 8
Was Jonathan Cain’s original synthesizer used on all the Journey recordings of Faithfully,
Open Arms, Separate Ways, Don’t Stop Believin’.
John Oates' Akai MPC 60 Linn Drum Version, used by Hall & Oates on songs like Private Eyes and Maneater.
K8 Presto Mono Record Cutting Lathe
Originally from WREC Radio Station in Memphis Tennessee (1948). It’s likely acetates were used to
record artists' live, in-studio performances and to archive radio shows broadcast from the basement of
the Peabody Hotel in Memphis.
1956 Bassman Amp
1965 Ampeg SB-12