Today, I was blessed to have listened to a fantastic 25-musician cover collaboration of Willie Nelson's "Living in the Promiseland." This is not just any cover; this rendition has a genuinely noble and heart-touching purpose.
The release was created to "support the area’s struggling refugee community. All proceeds from the song and video benefit Refugee Services of Texas, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to finding homes and jobs for, educating, and acclimating the area's refugee population."
These 25 artists have dubbed themselves as the "Fort Worth Musicians Choir."
“'Living in the Promiseland’ speaks of the struggles of refugees and immigrants to America, referencing the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty,' says singer-songwriter Dan Johnson who arranged and conducted the orchestra and choir. 'These folks aren't illegal immigrants. They're families with children who have waited an average of 7 years in refugee camps and gone through all the proper legal channels and background checks, to try to pursue the American dream of freedom and build a better life for themselves and their children.'"
"Johnson says recently he became aware that funding and support for refugee services in Texas had been cut off. His own family, having been impoverished and homeless at times when he was a child, left Dan with a heart for displaced and struggling families, and he has volunteered with refugee support services over the years. 'These are good, hard-working people and innocent kids, and they deserve a chance at freedom,' Johnson remarks."
"Ashley Faye, Development Director for Refugee Services of Texas commented, 'Since the onset of the virus quarantine, funding has dried up even more, and so many of their jobs have been lost. This support means more than ever, during this difficult time.'"
The lyrics of "Living In The Promiseland" echo the cause that these musicians support:
Give us your tired and weak And we will make them strong Bring us your foreign songs And we will sing along Leave us your broken dreams We'll give them time to mend There's still a lot of love Living in the promiseland
Living in the promiseland Our dreams are made of steel The prayer of every man Is to know how freedom feels There is a winding road 'Cross the shifting sands And room for everyone Living in the promiseland
So they came from a distant isle Aimless woman, faithless child Like a bad dream Until there was no room at all No place to run and no place to fall
Give us your daily bread We have no shoes to wear No place to call our own Only this cross to bear We are the multitudes Lend us a helping hand Is there no love anymore? Living in the promiseland
Check out the original version here:
To support the Refugee Services of Texas, go to www.rstx.org.
Streaming and Purchase of the Forth Worth Musician's Choir Cover of “Living in the Promiseland” is currently estimated to be available by the end of May.
Living in the Promiseland
Written By David Lynn Jones
All Rights Reserved
Originally Performed and Recorded By Willie Nelson
Produced By: Dan Johnson, Grant Jackson Wilborn
Fort Worth, TX
Instrumental Arrangements: Dan Johnson
Vocal Arrangements: Dan Johnson, Casey Wilson
Conducted By: Dan Johnson
Recording Engineer: Grant Jackson Wilborn
Orchestra: Ryan Tharp: Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Clint Kirby: Drums, Danny Stone: Electric Bass, Esmaeil Zarghami: Acoustic Guitar , Isaac Dusabamahoro: Piano & Guitar, Cello: Chris Bassett, Jared Sullivan, Sarah Nichole Rogerson, Double Bass: Aden Bubeck, Jeremy Hull.
Vocalists [In Order of Appearance]:
Skylar Payne, Aubrey Wallace, Hannah Owens, Jessi England, Andrew Sevener
Jackie Darlene, Big Joe Walker, The Pour Brothers (Casey Wilson & Mike Webb), Isaac Dusabamahoro, Melinda Adams, Dan Johnson, Keegan McEnroe, Joe Savage, D. Anson Brody
Video Produced By: Steve Pitman, Videographers: Steve Pitman, Gabriel Campos, Still Photography: Scott Cook, Crew Support: Lauren Ellis
Ashley Landis of Dallas News