Saint Disruption, the spirit-driven music & art collective led by renowned improvisational keyboardist John Medeski and musician, scientist, and folk healer Jeff Firewalker Schmitt, has created a soulful rendition of John Lennon’s classic composition “Imagine.” The single features slide guitar work by Grammy winning vocalist, songwriter, guitar legend, >Warren Haynes, marking the first time that Haynes has recorded with his nephew Austn Haynes, cofounder of Asheville-based hip-hop quartet Free Radio. Out April 8, 2022 via Root Doctor Collective, the track also features impressively dynamic vocalists—Datrian Johnson and Grammy winning artist Debrissa McKinney (both of whom also work with Austn in Free Radio)—with the foundational bass parts played by Jake Wolf. “Such a cool, inventive take on this timeless tune,” says Warren. “It highlights the amazing strength and importance of the song while taking it into the future. It’s a real honor to work alongside my nephew Austn, my Asheville cohorts and my old friend John Medeski.” Medeski & Firewalker Schmitt had no idea they’d meet & strike up a friendship when they traveled independently to the heart of the Amazon to work with a shaman healer in 2008— but when they did, a collaborative creative relationship was born. Over a decade after that fateful meeting, in the midst of a global pandemic, the two felt an urgent need to join forces and make music as Saint Disruption. The group brings together musicians and artists to create works that support positive change in the world, with a spotlight on the rich artistic community of Asheville, NC as the creative hub. Firewalker & Medeski are pleased to have created the foundation to bring Warren & Austn Haynes together for the first time in a recording. Looking forward, Saint Disruption is planning to release more music & visual art collaborations, music videos, and their soon-to-be-launched No Simple Disruption Podcast/Video-show—released in conjunction with the No Simple Road Podcast and The UBC TV Network—which aspires to provide a platform for young visionaries to share their works and engage in deep dialogue with thought-leaders of their choice.
I had the chance to catch up with both Jeff and Austn about how they took such a life changing tune and made it into their own vision. We spoke of how the individual spirits combines to form this completely new rendition, the how’s and what’s that caused surprise and what are the possibilities for the future. We get into the healing and spirt side of earlier collaborations and how that music became the gateway bridge in/outward. There reflection on finding a new flow with new music, eldership and collaborations with the North Mississippi Allstars. Towards the end, we get into the coolness that is debuting n the Fall on thegiveback of the upcoming podcast/video show that brings true stories, from real people to the next generations. Deep fun times right here.