The Violet Burning – Mercy Songs

Michael Pritzl en zijn band The Violet Burning zijn terug. Vineyard Music bracht 20 jaar geleden Chosen uit. Grunge rock was net populair en nu onvoorstelbaar, dat Vineyard naast worship music ook zo’n alternatieve rockband zou distribueren, laten we het houden op pioniersjaren aan beide kanten. Vorig jaar retourneerde Vineyard de rechten op Chosen, waarmee The Violet Burning ermee mocht doen wat ze wilden. Pritzl en de zijnen besloten om het album in MP3 gratis weg te geven. Van Chosen werden 5 en van Strength 3 songs akoestisch opnieuw opgenomen als speciaal nieuw album: Mercy Songs. Sweet Mercy, vergezeld van een heuse videoclip opent de collectie. Rise Like The Lions met een bescheiden rol voor de piano en strijkers om de spanning op te bouwen. Volgens Pritzl, die zijn jeugdliedjes herontdekte, tekenen de vele mineur akkoorden en de voorzichtige zang het verlangen van een jongeman naar pure aanbidding, ondanks de vele misstappen en struikelpartijen. The Last Ones wordt gevolgd door There Is Nowhere Else (“Not the jewels Of a thousand kings Not the waves Of the mighty sea Not the powers that be In the heavens or in hell Could ever separate me From your love…”) The Killing andermaal van Chosen, was destijds een song, waarmee de band zowel in de nachtclubs van LA en Orange County bekendheid verwierf. Michael beeldde er de kruisiging uit. “Oh, they’re killing my Lord” intrigeert nog altijd, zij het dat de 2010 setting een akoestische klaagzang is. Opnamen van het liedje door fans over de hele wereld werden ge├»ntegreerd in een 35+ koppig digitaal ‘koor’ in het 2e en derde refrein. Lenny Beh bracht de strijkerssecties van de originele opnamen weer tot leven, terwijl de legendarische Richard Dodd de nieuwe opnamen verzorgde. De remake van de Strength opener There Is No One Like You is ook in 2010 prachtig. O, wat heb ik dat nummer grijsgedraaid in het verleden. The Face of Beauty (“Love sweet love, come rain on me, come pour yourself all over me..”) en Stay With Me, twee andere tijdloze juweeltjes van Strength maken het achttal compleet. En natuurlijk grijp ik dan weer eens naar het originele Strength dat in de CD collectie is gebleven.

<!–[if gte mso 10]> In 1990:
Most of Christian Music at that time was following the hair band trend, and when The Violet Burning’s, Chosen landed in CCM circles it seemed to come as a breath of life. We had no idea what we were getting into, we had spent most of our time playing in the dirty rock nightclubs around the Los Angeles area opening for bands like TSOL, and we were certainly not aware of this industry known as Gospel Music or Christian Music. That was all very confusing for us, because we never saw such a thing in the scripture, we figured, “we play post goth/rock music and we should be in the clubs on Saturday night and at church on Sunday.”
A couple months ago we put our dilemma out onto the internet to get our fans feedback for what they would like to hear as a 20th anniversary gift, and we posed the question, “What do do with Chosen?”.

The majority of the fans wanted to hear Michael Pritzl performing acoustic versions of some of the songs from that era, and so that’s what we went with. Michael Pritzl – Mercy Songs is the result of those recordings. 8 songs from the violet burning’s early days with Vineyard Music and Mercy Publishing. 5 songs from Chosen and 3 songs from Strength were selected for the recordings.

Chosen was first released in March of 1990, but we recorded the album during the end of the year in 1989.
So we decided that at the end of 2009 we would do the Mercy Songs recording exactly 20 years later. And of course with today’s technology, we don’t have to wait 5 months for the production to be made available worldwide, we can simply launch the new recording from our web server and our fans can download the music immediately.

Michael’s Thoughts on Chosen and Mercy Songs:
“Listening back to Chosen after all these years is quite interesting. for us, it’s very strange to hear certain production choices that were made by the Producer and Mixing Engineer, which we all find kind of funny. That being said, we also respect the treatment of many of the songs, and we also realize that those guys did their very best to help make us sound better than we were, and for that we are grateful.”

“For Mercy Songs, I tried to select songs that I could still relate too even though many of them I wrote as a teenager. It’s a little bit strange to be touching these songs after so many years. They are quite beautiful in a youthful way. Lots of minor chords and yearning lyrics. you can hear the sincere longing of a young person finding their way through the challenges of this life, and over and over you can hear that young adult reaching out to the Lord of all Creation for hope and for peace and in worship for what Christ has done for us all, His love for us through all of our sins, trials and mis-steps.”

The Killing:
“Perhaps the song that got The Violets the most attention when we first started was The Killing. Many times this song was performed in the nightclubs of LA and OC with Michael re-enacting the crucifixion, being covered in red paint, shirt off, sometimes the red dripping onto the fans in the front, and all over the band, the instruments, the stage. All of us crying, being touched by the presence of God right there in the sweat and in the smell of cigarettes, alcohol, and inhibition that filled those places. “oh, they’re killing my Lord” we all sang.

For a new version of The Killing, we did one other special thing to commemorate these recordings. we invited fans and friends from all over the world to participate in the song with us. We opened it up to anyone who could send in a recording of themselves singing along to the chorus of The Killing. We ended up with 35 or so people that sent in files of themselves singing. Many of them we were able to use to build into a ‘choir’ of sorts that appears on the 2nd and 3rd chorus of the Mercy Songs version. For me as the songwriter, it’s very humbling that so many artists, musicians and fans from around the world would want to join me on this song. I think it’s a song that has touched all of us in some way, because Christ’s love for us has touched us in a way that we could never repay.

I hope these new quiet versions will be a blessing to our fans. It’s really turned out quite heavy to me.

I think even people who don’t like the early recordings may like these versions.

Lenny Beh did an amazing job with the string sections we tracked, and the legendary Richard Dodd mastered the new recordings.”