In June 2020 the collaboration between Stevie’s Blend and the american musician/songwriter Mark Hanna began. The lockdown period hit us all pretty hard and forced us to rethink of a new way of interpreting what was going on in our lives. Moreover, with the facts behind the brutal slaying of George Floyd and the backlash of the Black Lives Matter movement in the States, we decided to work with Mark and produce something which could face the theme regarding the prevarication and, more generally, mankind in his complexity to embrace reality and the spiritual at the same time.Our choice fell upon the song “The Soul of a Man” by Willie Johnson, recorded in Atlanta, Georgia during the Great Depression which devastated the States in 1930. The lyrics are particularly intense and tell the story of a man on a desperate quest for the essence of the human soul and for someone to help illuminate him on this ever-fleeting subject. The project came about from the idea to find a new arrangement of this historic blues from Blind Willie Johnson, considered a master of gospel blues, which was recorded with a singular, touching voice and a strident guitar. The beginning of this gospel intent slowly transforms itself as the song winds onward, through the territory of acoustic blues until exploding into the heights of an electric guitar solo.
The voices of Mark Hanna and Gianna Chillà blend perfectly together penetrating each other in a perfect amalgam with rare chemistry, the solid rhythm section of Piero Perantozzi on the drums and Mick Brill on the bass sustain the the guitars of Stefano De Angelis in a driving duet with Mark Hanna. Acoustic and electric guitars fused perfectly to give a touch of contemporary sound while still respecting the finest blues tradition.