Lee Fields: Soul of a Faithful Man
Soul veteran Lee Fields will release his new album Faithful Man on March 13 via Brooklyn’s Truth & Soul Records. According to Fields, the album explores the inner workings of human relationships and was recorded using traditional analog equipment. Much like 2009’s My World, Faithful Man evokes a classic soul sound with a distinct modern twist, aided by the production help from Truth & Soul co-owners and producers Jeff Silverman and Leon Michels—known for their work with stars including Adele, Aloe Blacc, Ghostface Killah, Jay-Z and many others. In the following discussion, Fields talks about his unfaltering positive outlook on life, his approach to using new recording technology and why he chose to include a cover of the Rolling Stone’s “Moonlight Mile” on the new album.
You have a new album coming out called Faithful Man, which is your first since 2009’s critically acclaimed My World. That album was seen as somewhat of a return to a classic soul sound that rarely exists in today’s music world. Can you talk about the direction you took with the new album?
I think, actually, what we’re doing on this one is picking up where we left off with the My World album. We’re about—when I say “we” I mean myself, Lee Fields, and the Expressions—making records that we are pleased with. We don’t want to give somebody something that we’re not pleased with. So we’re very happy with this album. If you’re going to record a record and give it to the public, you should be very, very happy with what you did. The song choices cover the whole spectrum of human relation, ‘cause, really, that’s what life is all about—the relationship between one person to another. We’re into the spiritual aspect of the relationship. So we covered the full spectrum on this album of relations. Period.
Everything that we’re doing right now is in a new direction. Soul in and of itself comes from experience—the human psyche, the mental aspect of how it felt. To me, that’s what soul is. You’ve got the body and the flesh and you’ve got the spiritual self. The spiritual self is all about relationships and how you relate to other people. In this case, it’s a personal thing of how relationships are faith. How does a man get along with his girlfriend, or his mother, or a college acquaintance? It’s all about relationships. So a faithful man, that’s one situation, and that’s what this album is about. It’s a beautiful thing.
That says quite a bit about the title, Faithful Man. What’s the story behind that?
We all, females and males, at points in our lives, have to make the decision whether to do right or wrong, with regard to relationships. That’s one of the aspects of the relationship. In one of the songs we talk about the faithful man who’s been faithful, and then there’s the point when temptation sets in. But I never say he did anything. We leave it with, how they call it on TV, a cliffhanger [Laughs]. So that’s one of the aspects of the relationship. Relationships are the substance that brings us all together. So I hope people embrace that aspect of the album.
Does the album title speak to you personally or a specific time in your life, or are you writing from more of a generalized standpoint?
On this album, we had a team of various writers. On this album, as a matter of fact, I actually took a back seat. I had some input, but mainly, I thought it would be to my best interest to have these young individuals to tell their story, and I’m the storyteller. So, on this album, I’m more just a storyteller. We live in such a chaotic world—conflicts, outbursts, defamations and all kinds of crazy stuff. And we were considering what was happening at the time, and it’s still happening. With conception of this CD, I think love is the answer. I try to smooth everything to the right point so that you can get away from all that chaos, so you can escape. It’s like a short excursion without having to leave where you are. The only thing you have to bring is a smaller scale of your emotions, because that’s what we live for. We live for our emotions. I’m not saying it’s therapeutic. What I’m saying is the choice of songs that we made this time should make people feel good.
Listen man, I don’t even listen to my stuff that much. But this album, I don’t mind playing because I didn’t write a lot of the stuff. I’m listening to what other people are thinking. I think it’s wise to listen to other folks sometimes. I don’t consider myself a wise person, or a person who has the answers. But I do think it’s wise to listen to other people sometimes.