Stayed Prayed Up LP Release Now Available
The first LP offering from Spiritual Helpline, Stayed Prayed Up is the only live concert done by NC gospel ensemble The Branchettes
By: Spiritual Helpline
Based in Newton Grove, North Carolina, The Branchettes have graced stages as far away as Ireland with their gospel renditions. In the over 45 years of performing, The Branchettes have never recorded a live concert, until now.
Seeds for the project were initially planted after NC singer/songwriter Phil Cook approached "Mother" Perry in 2015 about recording a live album. Later, he invited local filmmakers D.L. Anderson, of Vittles Films, and Matt Durning, of Interlocking Pictures, to document the process of recording the concert album. In result, the album and film showcase The Branchette's legacy and honor members who have passed on.
The live recording has also been translated into a feature film, "Stay Prayed Up", which premiered at the 48th annual Telluride Film Festival. The film was one of just 36 films screened at the high-profile event in Telluride, Colorado. Most recently, the film has been screened at the Heartland Film Festival and Virginia Film Festival. The film will be shown at the New Orleans Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival and DOC NYC later this year.
Spiritual Helpline is a "platform for presenting the past, present and future of gospel music in the South," according to founder, Wisconsin-born NC-based singer/songwriter Phil Cook. Built from a love for gospel music and enthusiasm for spreading its word how artists intended, Cook desires to "help shine a light on the underrepresented Black musicians who are the heartbeat of our musical traditions."
Along with the LP release and feature film, a podcast and archival initiative are underway. Those who are interested in supporting the efforts of Spiritual Helpline can become a Patreon member and receive exclusive content and broadcasts.
Spiritual Helpline Site (https://spiritualhelpline.com/
Stayed Prayed Up Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/
The Branchettes: The Branchettes of Johnston County, North Carolina (Lena Mae Perry and the late Ethel Mae Elliott and Aunt Mae Bennett) began performing hymns and gospel songs together over forty years ago. Their style and repertory are rooted in the older African-American musical traditions of congregational hymn singing. The Branchettes' powerful harmonies are amplified by the joyful virtuosity of long-time pianist Wilbur Tharpe, a central figure in the group's remarkable 48-year career.
Spiritual Helpline: Spiritual Helpline is a project, founded by musician and producer Phil Cook, whose mission involves promotion, preservation, and participation in the cultural wealth that stems from sacred music of the Black Church.