Taking his concept of connectivity one step further as a follow up to his first contemporary jazz instrumental album, “Connected,” keyboardist Mark Etheredge plans to enter the recording studio this fall to bring his optimistic vision for the world to life musically. Reteaming with two-time Grammy winning producer-guitarist Paul Brown, “Love Planet” is a thematic endeavor espousing kindness, respect, compassion, justice and the power of love. To help bring the project to fruition, one that is expected to include guest appearances by several luminaries along with an ensemble of first-call session players, Etheredge launched an Indiegogo campaign offering a bevy of enticing premiums.
Like 2016’s “Connected,” which was powered by the title track that peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard chart, the pianist-keyboardist has composed an album worth of new material comprised exclusively of originals that he depicts as smooth, funky, jazzy and will even have a touch of gospel. Etheredge’s utopian world view spins on the axis of peace, where inclusion and hope reign.
“Growing up, my parents would tell me that basically, everyone is born good. I heard opposing viewpoints on that message over time, but I still believe it’s true. And it’s totally inclusive: we are all part of the ‘Love Planet,’” said Etheredge about the inspiration behind the title track of the collection he plans to drop in February preceded by a radio single the month before.
Even in demo form, the set’s sophisticated groove with a nocturnal feel on the piano-piloted “Resonance” bodes to be a radio single. The San Francisco-based Etheredge explains, “Wikipedia states: ‘In physics, resonance is a phenomenon in which a vibrating system or external force drives another system to oscillate with greater amplitude at specific frequencies.’ I think as humans, we all have opportunities to resonate with each other - to be in tune and find peace with each other - if we want it enough.”
“You&Me&Us” contemplates coexistence while addressing a number of “Love Planet’s” key motifs. Etheredge ponders, “How can we coexist peacefully with one another? Perhaps if ‘you and me’ think not just about one or the other’s wants or needs, but instead consider a third way - ‘us’ – that focuses on our shared interest in which we both benefit. Can we be kind? Can we be respectful of all the beings in the world? Can we practice compassion and justice? Can we be loving?”
He describes “Slow Train” by using a quote attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that was based on an older writing from abolitionist minister Theodore Parker. “‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’ said Dr. King. For me, it’s a strong message of hope - that together - we can get through challenging times.”
Scheduled to be recorded in Los Angeles, “Love Planet” is expected to consist of nine songs when complete. To get there, Etheredge’s newly-initiated crowdfunding campaign provides a variety of perks that allow supporters to contribute to the process and score unique keepsakes and collectibles. Opportunities include autographed CDs, digital wallpapers, a studio session photo book, a canvas print of the album cover art, t-shirts and pillows branded with the “Love Planet” logo, and the unforgettable experience of attending all the recording sessions. To view the offerings, please visit https://bit.ly/2uWxQLZ.
The tentative track listing for “Love Planet” is:
“On The Flip Side”
“We’ll Make It Through”