The brainchild of Grammy Award winning producer Mark Johnson, Playing For Change is meant to “inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music.”
A few months back I spotted this YouTube video (below) for the album’s opening track, the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me.” I loved the audio/video mix of street musicians from across the globe. And with that, I’ve patiently awaited the album’s release.
Up next, a pair of Bob Marley tracks: “One Love” and “War/No More Trouble” (the latter featuring Bono and Mr. Marley himself). “One Love” is excellent, with a fantastic vocal arrangement and simple bluesy/reggae instrumentation. “War/No More Trouble” could have done without the celebrity cameos.
Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” is a highlight, as is the choral rendition of “Love Rescue Me” (U2). The album closes on a particularly high note with Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
Is this album going to bring peace to the world? Obviously not. But Playing For Change is certainly a testament to the power of music. The album is a great listen and it’s energy is undeniable.