When Canadian blues icon Jim Byrnes called Vancouver based gospel singer Marcus Mosely on the phone a few years ago to ask if he could round up a few friends to record some back up vocals for a new album, no one could have guessed what would happen next.
From the moment Mosely and his pals stepped up to the microphone and began singing, they realized that they had something very special going on. When Byrnes dubbed the trio The Sojourners the name stuck and – as they say – the rest is history.
Formative years spent singing in the churches of Marcus Mosely, Will Sanders and Khari McClelland, (from Ralls, Texas, Alexandria, Louisiana and Detroit, Michigan respectively) give The Sojourners' sound an authentic edge that only comes with experience. This is real gospel - blessed with a soul that can't be faked.
Hot on the tail of their session with Byrnes, the Sojourners went into the studio with roots music whiz Steve Dawson to record Hold On, their first solo album in 2007. Three years and many sessions later, they took all they had learned in between and returned to record a second CD simply entitled The Sojourners.
No longer the new kids on the block, the trio had definite ideas of how they wanted their follow up record to sound, and one listen through the songs they've captured here shows that they've succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.
This is not music that strives to be polite. In The Sojourners' universe, echoes of doo wop, R&B, country and blues weave together to create a unique sound that has all but vanished from today's world.
This is gospel music that can take a punch and remain standing. Singing praise music with their own special 'stank', the Vancouver based Sojourners sound just as at home in a road house bar as they do in a revival tent.
Highlights of the group's time together include a definitive show with the Dixie Hummingbirds, opening spots with Jim Byrnes at the Vancouver Jazz Festival for both Dr. John and the Blind Boys of Alabama and featured stages at most of the major Canadian folk and roots festivals.
'Eyes on the Prize' from Hold On was selected for inclusion in Let Freedom Sing, a Time-Life compilation box set celebrating the music of the American civil rights era. The Sojourners were also pleased to participate in both the CD and DVD of the award-winning Things About Coming My Way: A Tribute to the Music of the Mississippi Sheiks.
They receive a steady stream of invitations to contribute to the recordings and live performances of a diverse range of artists, spanning several genres, from the outer reaches of jazz to beat box / street poetry.
Marcus and Will became Canadian citizens in the summer of 2008. The band was invited to perform on Parliament Hill on Canada Day that year, where they sang the national anthem.
The Sojourners are a rock solid unit and proof positive that faith can move mountains. But, don't let that scare you away. Sinner or saved - wherever you are on your own personal journey, you should listen to The Sojourners. You'll feel better for it.
was born in a small town in the Texas panhandle, called Ralls.
He heard the music first from his mother, who always had a
song on her lips, Marcus soon discovered that he too carried
around a well of music in his soul. Over the past 54 years
Marcus has found himself drawing from the well. in many places
around the world. He has sung throughout North America, Europe,
Asia, Africa and the South Pacific, owing to 10 years of service
as a missionary. Just before Expo 86 Marcus made Vancouver
his home. Since then he has starred in various highly successful
stage productions such as 'Ain't Misbehavin', 'Black and Gold
Revue' and 'Show Boat'. Marcus has toured Canada giving concerts
and conducting Gospel Choral workshops.
through his childhood, in Alexandria, Louisiana, Will sang
in church choirs and ensembles.. he even played in the school
band. But his heart was always drawn to singing Gospel. In
his first time out, in the musical theatre arena, he won a
starring role in the Arts Club production of Ann Mortifee's
tour de force, 'When the Rains Come'. He was even nominated
for a Jessie Richardson Award for Best Performance in a Musical
that year (1994). He also went on to star in the Arts Club
production of 'Five Guys Name Moe'. Over the years, Will has
sung with a number of Vancouver based Gospel ensembles: 'Circle
Of Voices', 'Cloud Nine' and 'The Gospel Experience'.
was born and raised on the streets of Detroit. He picked up
his first instrument, the trumpet, at the age of nine, and
sang throughout his early years. Khari came to Vancouver seven
years ago and almost immediately started performing and making
inroads into the Vancouver music scene. Vancouver’s
strong roots music community and his early influences, ranging
from Motown to hip-hop, have combined to form a dynamic performer.
In 2007, Khari formed an acapella gospel quartet, Cornerstone,
with Frazey Ford, Ora Cogan, and Matt Anderson. Cornerstone
was well-received and played major festivals and local venues
alike. Khari met The Sojourners at the Vancouver Folk Music
Festival. That fortuitous event led to him becoming a permanent
member of the group.
Internationally renowned guitarist Paul Pigat is Musical Director of the Sojourners band, and produced their acclaimed last CD 'Sing and Never Get Tired'. His considerable talents in multiple musical genres means that he is an indispensible part of the operation. Pigat is often considered a "guitarist's guitar player" and he has served as a studio musician backing artists as varied as Neko Case, Jim Byrnes and Jakob Dylan. His fingerpicking skills are renowned and he has strong technical skills and was trained as a jazz guitarist. Paul tours the USA as a clinician for Gretsch guitars.
Rob is well known as one of Vancouver's most fluid and melodic bassists. He was the BC Country Music Assn's Bassist of the Year in 1996. Rob has toured extensively throughout Canada and the US with Canadian country singer Patricia Conroy and was part of her band for over 15 years. He has also taken part in two Canadian Forces Show Tours that have taken him to Bosnia and the Middle East. Rob maintains a busy work schedule and is equally at home in the studio or on stage.
Jesse Cahill studied music at Montreal's McGill University. He has become one of the busiest drummers on the Canadian music scene. He can be heard with top artists including Paul Pigat, Cousin Harley, Jim Byrnes and many others. Jesse is an in demand session player and has appeared on dozens of recordings. His playing can be heard regularly on CBC Radio and he has been a featured guest and performer on Jazz Beat, Hot Air, and Canada Live. Jesse leads his own award-winning group Nightcrawlers and is on faculty at The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music.