When producer and multi-instrumentalist Phil Madeira announced plans to make an album called "Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us" in 2012, no one knew what to expect. While well-respected in the Nashville musical community and seen by thousands on stage nightly performing with Emmylou Harris' Red Dirt Boys, Madeira was hardly the kind of household name that sells albums. But his Kickstarter campaign was funded and produced an album that exceeded even the most optimistic expectations, ranking #1 in our Best Albums of 2012 and turning in strong performances by Americana powerhouses like Harris, Buddy Miller, and The Civil Wars, the latter of whom went on to win a Grammy with a re-recorded version of their "From This Valley" on their 2013 self-titled album. Now Madeira is back with plans to make a sequel to "Mercyland" and the project's Kickstarter page promises another stellar lineup.
While the final lineup of musicians has not been confirmed, the few names that Madeira has already pulled in is enough to make for one heck of an album. Emmylou Harris will be making a return, but this time, The Red Dirt Boys will also appear. The Wood Brothers, who did not appear on the first "Mercyland" album but did appear at the performance at Nashville's Downtown Presbyterian Church during Americanafest 2012, will also be making a contribution. Also on board are Americana ambassador Jim Lauderdale, Norwegian band Humming People, second-generation gospel royalty The McCrary Sisters, Sugar & the Hi-Lows, Angel Snow, and Kate York.
For those not familiar with the concept, Madeira conceived of "Mercyland" to, in his words "counteract all the bad PR God continues to get from his own flock." The theme for the album, and also for "Mercyland 2" is "What if God is Love?"
For those interested in backing Madeira's Kickstarter campaign, he has donation levels for any pocketbook. Rewards include a digital download of the album on the $10 level, to an invitation-only record release party at the $80 level. For those who can afford more, rewards include a 3 hour songwriting session with Madeira at the $500 level or a house concert at the $5000 level. You can find all of the rewards and the link to back the campaign here.