Mike Farris wasn’t doing anything particularly glamourous when he received word he had been nominated for his first Grammy on Dec. 5.
“I was in the middle of doing some plumbing repairs in my kitchen,” Farris said. “I had been underneath that sink for a day and a half.”
The gospel singer/songwriter received a text from Tom Carolan, who had originally signed Farris to Atlantic Records 20 years ago, telling him he was up for the Best Roots Gospel Album for his latest album Shine For All the People, released in September.
“Then all hell broke loose,” Farris said.
Carolan’s text was followed by multiple phone calls and texts from friends and business associates congratulating him for the nomination.
“It was crazy,” Farris said. “I’m ecstatic about it it’s an honour. It’s not the be all end all, but it is a great award to be recognized by your peers. It is the most prestigious music award that we have, so it is a real honour.”
Farris returns to the Dream Café and has extended his stay to three nights from Dec. 12-14. Farris played the Dream Café in August and the experience was one that definitely stuck with him.
“You guys have an amazing little venue there. You should all be really proud of it. (Dream Café owners) Pierre and Debra have done a great job.
“Nobody in the states knows that this town even exists and then you show up and you’ve got this great venue. What takes it from a great venue to a spectacular venue is there is all these people who come in there and they support it, and they are hardcore man,” Farris said.
Shine For All the People may be up for a Grammy now, but during the years it took to produce the album, Farris was unsure if it would ever see the light of day. Fighting a relapse into drug addiction and running into financing troubles held the production up considerably.
“It wasn’t an easy birth that one,” he said.
Farris said there was a sense of relief when the album was finished and released.
“To see it finally put together with all the artwork and everything and to know that you have got something to be proud of and you could finally share with everybody, it was really amazing,” he said.
He is no stranger to hardship and the songs on Shine For All the People mark different points of recovery and struggle for Farris.
“Some of these songs became, at different points in my life, my mantras. Those songs became my war cry,” Farris said.
Farris has hit many benchmarks during his career, including providing his vocals at the inaugural Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction with Double Trouble, a band formed by Stevie Ray Vaughn in 1978. A big part of Farris’ philosophy is that before you can get up, you have to fall first.
“It is part of the plan. That is how we get to the next step. By falling. Every hero known to man, a major part of their story is falling,” he said. “You can fight against it all you want, and you can survive and put it off, that’s what you’re doing is putting it off because eventually the fall is coming.”
An addiction to pain medication delayed work on Shine For All the People with Farris attending rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous, but true to his philosophy, the fall was only the beginning.
“For me the beauty of it is when you come out of something, say drug addiction or alcoholism, when you come out of that you decide that that’s not going to be me, it is actually trying to kill me, and I’m going to make a change here,” Farris said. “God or the universe, or whatever you want to call it, rewards us for making that choice to be a better human being. You come out of that and there is revelations in your soul and your DNA. That stuff takes shape.”
According to Farris, there is more to it than getting back on your feet.
“By you going along and telling your story of how you survived how you got through something. It gives somebody else the courage and the strength to make those changes as well. So it just perpetuates.”
Tickets are $40 and available at 250-490-9012. For more information visit www.thedreamcafe.ca