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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Acclaimed LA Americana/Soul Singer-Songwriter Chris Pierce Releases New Album 'Let All Who Will'

By Devon Leger.

With his new album, Let All Who Will, acclaimed Los Angeles singer and songwriter Chris Pierce delivers a powerful set of songs that amplify unheralded voices and aim to bring us together across the bitter trenches that divide us.

Pierce’s new album is a follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2021 acoustic album, American Silence, which was heralded as a masterpiece of protest folk songwriting by folks at NPR, Rolling Stone, and many more. Co-produced by Niko Bolas (Neil Young, The Mavericks) and Dave Resnik (Sonia Dada, Mavis Staples), Let All Who Will was recorded in Hollywood, CA at the legendary Sunset Sound.

The new album is packed with intense storytelling, intuitive spontaneity, and powerful performances that capture a vivid snapshot of the kinship at the sessions, all supporting Pierce’s unmistakable and soulfully dynamic vocals. It’s clear from his songwriting that Chris Pierce holds a strong belief that songs can cut through the isolated and static feelings of individuals worn down by the uncertainty of everyday life. Songs can unite us under one sonic roof to feel something together, be it pain, sorrow, frustration, joy, hope, or freedom. But though Pierce believes in the unifying power of music, Let All Who Will does not flinch away from the harsh realities of being Black in America. Rather, it focuses a blistering lens on historical and modern injustice, trusting the audience to understand that justice and compassion show the only way forward for our nation.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chris Pierce is a much loved artist in the city, known for his cross-genre work, his many collaborations, and his soul-drenched vocals that pay homage to the true roots of Americana. In making his new album, Let All Who Will, Pierce was able to draw from an incredible array of Los Angeles musicians, each wanting to be part of his sonic magic. The album features an all-star personnel list including Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams, Ray LaMontagne), Sunny War, Michael Jerome (Richard Thompson, Blind Boys of Alabama), Kaveh Rastegar (John Legend, Bruce Springsteen), Kelvin Holly (Little Richard, Peggi Young), Deron Johnson (Miles Davis, Seal), Dave Palmer (Joe Henry, Susan Tedeschi), Maiya Sykes (Macy Gray, Postmodern Jukebox), Jessica Childress (Aloe Blacc, Rod Stewart), Charles Jones (Jennifer Hudson, Joy Oladokun), and Ginger Murphy (Kamasi Washington, Kendrick Lamar).

With Let All Who Will, Chris Pierce brings together two key strains of American music: Protest Folk and Blues & Soul. It’s the same combination that underpins the music of the American civil rights movement, from Harry Belafonte to Odetta to Paul Robeson to Josh White, but Pierce isn’t afraid to update the sound for modern times, informed by the many great rock and indie artists he’s worked with in Los Angeles and beyond. On the song “Sidney Poitier,” Pierce calls out the civil rights era directly, commemorating the passing of a great American hero. Pierce’s vision is arguably strongest on the album’s standout track, the deeply powerful “Tulsa Town.” Written to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, a shocking, historical act of mass murder that targeted a thriving Black community in Oklahoma. Over a swaying, waltz beat, Pierce bitterly decries “Well Tulsa Town is burning down / Ashes falling to the ground / if you build it up, they’ll break it down.” On “Mr. McMartin,” Pierce reminisces on the many years of social change that a humble street sweeper might have seen, trying to decide whether real change is finally or coming or not. With “Meet Me at the Bottom,” he offers up a place for us all to come together and rise up. It may be at the bottom, but we don’t have to climb to the top alone. On lead single “45 Jukebox”, Pierce looks at the difficult art of songwriting, and the change it can bring to our own lives.

It’s the rare songwriter that is willing to take a chance on telling a story that uncovers hard realities, but Chris Pierce sees his songs not only as a way to find the truth, but as a way to bring us together around that very truth. It’s a brave idea, and one that’s born fruit for Pierce as he’s seen his national and international career rise following acclaimed albums and performances. To see Pierce on stage is to be welcomed into his world with open arms, to engage in conversation on how to make everyone’s world better. With Let All Who Will, Pierce’s songs examine the essentials of the human condition: resilience, growth, emotion, aspiration, conflict, and mortality.



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