With 100+ million albums sold worldwide, multi-JUNO Award-winning, Platinum-status producer, composer, singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Birkett and his new band The Free Spirits have released a new production — this time in single and video “Everyday People,” available now!
Birkett, who has worked with Buffy Sainte-Marie, Mel Brooks, Steve Earle, Bob Geldof, Alison Moyet, Dexys Midnight Runners, Talking Heads, The Pogues, and The Proclaimers — not to mention, just celebrated the 30th anniversary of producing Sinead O’Connor’s seismic release I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got — joined with Shari Tallon, to create The Free Spirits.
Together, the duo — Birkett on vocals, guitar, drums, bass, and keys, and Tallon on flute, keyboards and backing vocals — are unlocking sonic synchronicity with their debut album, 11:11 (Birkett’s fourth overall).
“The cover of this Sly and the Family Stone hit is included on 11:11,” Birkett says of the track and video. “The song’s message of world peace is as important today as when it was first recorded in the 1970s.”
While the song has long been a magnet for a multitude of musicians since its 1968 release, including versions by Aretha Franklin, Joan Jett, and Pearl Jam, Birkett’s take is not only well received by fans, but the original band itself.
“I sent the video to Andy Newmark,” he explains. “He was Sly and the Family Stone’s drummer and someone who I’d worked with in the past.
“He wrote back to me on November 11th — so, 11:11 — and said ‘sounds and looks great, Chris. Good work!’
“It’s great to have his thumbs up!”
The track features Birkett on lead vocals, and is backed by the Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts Student Choir. Not to be missed, there are additional vocals from 2019 Maple Blues Award winner Ann Vriend.
The video for Birkett and The Free Spirits’ take on “Everyday People” bittersweetly stands as a tribute of sorts to an important person connected to the project. “The video was directed by Tom Omorean, who passed away suddenly and sadly in December 2019, soon after finishing what would be his last video.”
The Free Spirit’s debut LP together features thought-provoking lyrics, dynamic instrumental arrangements, and spans across multiple genres, and they pride themselves on being more than just what meets the ear. Under this musical moniker, Birkett and Tallon are a musical collaboration shedding light on life, the world, and how artists can help be a positive force for truth and change, they say.
Birkett — whose song “Where Do We Go From Here” was featured alongside Dire Straits, Bob Marley, U2, Peter Gabriel, and Queen, among others, on 1993’s One Voice, One Love compilation album in support of CARE International — says he believes “in the universal language of music to make a change in humanity’s attitude to climate, culture, and race.”
The Free Spirits’ “Everyday People” and 11:11 are available now.