If St. Augustian owned an electric guitar instead of a pen and hung out with Ray Charles, then his Confessions might have sounded something like this.
Sam Rocha is a philosopher, author, and musician who released his Kickstarter funded album Late to Love (Wiseblood Records) yesterday.
"Late to Love is an original concept album that performs a reading of Augustine’s Confessions through soul music. It is not a generic ode to a saint or holy person, nor it is a neutral and uncontroversial celebration of an important ancient book. From beginning to end Rocha offers a bold and fresh reading of Augustine’s Confessions where the form is the content, where melody and verse take the place of assertions and argument." (from latetolove.bandcamp.com)
He calls it Augustinian Soul. And I believe him.
This description, obviously written by Sam, I found on the Wiseblood website:
"Soul music is not so much a genre as it is a sentiment, a quality. When a musician “has soul” it is not something that is stylistic or technical. No. To have soul is to have a certain conviction, grit, and sincerity. Soulful music is music that has the capacity to show and offer love. Augustinian soul music, then, verges on redundant since, for Augustine, it is the heart that moves the soul. Two traditions, philosophy and music, have for centuries reflected and practiced the art of soul craft. In Late to Love, Sam Rocha, a philosopher and musician, combines those traditions in pursuit of the sound and song that can be recognized as soulful, that moves the body, heart, and mind, reaching out to the intimate place where the ego is absent and where God abides in its place. This place is what has been called the soul; its song endures in and out of religious or devotional settings – and for good reason. The world today is filled with stylists and technicians of all sorts, bureaucrats and managers and experts, but, in the midst of so much knowledge and sophistication, the simple human touch, the touch that reaches the heart and moves the soul without insulting the intellect, is all too rare. Late to Love is soul music, inspired by the soul craft of music and philosophy, without comprising the integrity of either."
This album is raw and doesn't give a what. (Listen to it here on band camp.) You'll find some disturbing lines that reveal a lover who is lacking any filter of self-consciousness. Some of the most disturbingly sincere lines:
"My watch hands don't glow my heart ain't got no usb" "Pinocchio is fake, but that nose seems so real" "If the water ain't hot, then them dishes ain't clean. Make your eggs with love."
My favorite line by far is from the track Alien House:
"While the alien wishes for, just awhile longer, washed like soiled dishes, before the funk grows any stronger."
There is depth I'm missing to some of these lines and songs as a whole that edge this album close to esoteric, and maybe that's just the soul of song. Some people smarter and more philosophical than myself have already caught on to what Sam is grooving.
Sam excels at that grooving and whining electric guitar fingerpicking style that often makes me think I'm hearing bow ties and black dresses clinging glasses and silverware in a late night jazz club. This is a diverse album though with a wide range of sound across the tracks.
I threw down $50 for the Late to Love cause with two others who challenged Sam on Facebook to do a ridiculously sincere cover of a Veggie Tales song. Here is the glorious rendition:
Buy Sam Rocha's Album Late to Love because its a good album with roots in truth and funk. Its hard to come across a marriage of the two as sincere as this.
And make sure you have a copy of The Confessions of Saint Augustine to read along late tonight while listening to this album with a glass of whiskey.