Back and better than before: Blessid Union of Souls
By Andy Argyrakis
From the pages of the official publicity biography
From meteoric rise on the radio throughout the 1990s through the subsequent decade of thought provoking songwriting and amassing an extremely dedicated fan base on tour, Blessid Union of Souls has become amongst the most beloved, meaningful and musically consistent acts of this generation. Thanks to the seamless merger of contagious pop, rock and soul from singer Eliot Sloan, coupled with his ability to continuously write socially conscious and spiritually inspiring songs, it’s no surprise to see gold records, chart cruising singles and a slew of soundtrack appearances.
Just for the record, Blessid Union of Souls has thus far clocked in a number one smash, a trio of top tens, five top 20 tunes and seven to hit the top 40, spanning the diverse likes of the iconic ballad “I Believe,” the quirky and colorful “Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me),” the acoustically framed “Light In Your Eyes,” plus romantic favorites like “I Wanna Be There” and “Let Me Be the One” (to name a mere handful). Add in the gold selling landmark debut disc Home, being featured on the gold selling Carole King tribute album Tapestry Revisited (Rod Stewart, Faith Hill, Amy Grant, The Bee Gees) and the double platinum soundtrack for “Pokemon: The First Movie,” in addition to appearances on “Contact” (starring Jodie Foster), “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “Cold Case,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Live with Regis” ( no less than four times”), “Good Morning America,” “Top of the Pops,” “All My Children” and VH1, and Blessid Union of Souls’ fingerprints have literally encountered every facet of pop culture.
“You don’t have time to really prepare for it because all of a sudden your songs are being played on the radio, you’re getting video play and landing on TV shows all around the world,” suggests Sloan of his rocket ride to Blessid Union of Souls’ fame. “But I try not to think about it too much and never let myself get a big head. I just live a regular life with my wife and two kids at the house, drive to the studio for recordings and then hit the road when it’s time to tour.”
Sloan’s remarkably humble demeanor is rare for someone who’s shared the stage with superstar acts like Bon Jovi, Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind and Mike & the Mechanics (not to mention headlined major venues all across the globe). And when he speaks of hitting the studio and road these days, it’s all revolving around the brand new CD The Mission Field, which applies an even more introspective coat of paint to Blessid Union of Soul’s previous direction while retaining the signature qualities that have literally attracted millions of fans over the years.
“I’ve always sung about wanting to live right, and with The Mission Field, it’s just a matter of taking things one step further,” he assures of Blessid Union of Souls’ fourth national long player. Such is certainly the case across the piano popper “The Only Song,” a rousing anthem that’s loaded with pop sensibility and Sloan’s inviting vocals that truly get richer with time. During “Higher Calling,” meaty guitars are laced over alluring programming, simultaneously conjuring up a retro sensibility and a fresh edge for Blessid Union of Souls. Yet the title track is a clear calling card for the record, evoking the now classic “I Believe” with an appeal for listeners to impact their corner of the world to the fullest extent possible.
“All of the pondering on The Mission Field is basically an extension of the ideas I first started exploring on Home, which makes the two records seem like book ends with one another,” the leader relates. “‘I Still Believe In Love’ and ‘Back From the Dead’ are two more songs that really hit a nerve for me, which fans may already be familiar with from the road, but they’re finally getting a chance to be showcased in the proper format.”
Though a longtime staple of EMI Records (David Bowie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Roxette) and V2 Records (The White Stripes, Moby), The Mission Field was recorded entirely on Sloan’s terms, but will pop up in all the usual physical and digital retail outlets thanks to distribution from Sony/Provident Music Group.
“I always just want to make albums that sound as good as possible while singing about something of substance,” confides Sloan. “I’m always under construction, but at the same time, if I wait until I’m perfect before taking a step, then it’s never going to happen. I think the songs speak about looking at ourselves a little closer, paying more attention to what we say and do, and knowing that overall world change is possible, but it starts with one person at a time.”
# # #