He’s iconic. Harry Connick Jr. Is a multiple Grammy and Emmy Award-winning actor and musician. A rare talent who has graced the silver screen, starred on Broadway, and even hosted his own daytime talk show. When the pandemic hit in 2020, like the rest of us, Harry was forced home with time to reflect. The result was his newest album, “Alone With My Faith.”
Dawson asks, “How did that solitude shape this album?”
Connick responds, “I think solitude is the entire reason that this album came to be. I mean, I was on the road on tour, having a really good time and then, just like everybody else, had to kind of pull the plug and go home and try to assess what was going on. It’s an interesting concept because I was physically alone in the studio, but I had this sense of not being spiritually alone because I had faith.”
The album consists of traditional Christian music as well as a few originals. Harry played every instrument and even recorded his own backup vocals.
“You’ve collaborated with so many artists over the years,” says Dawson, “What did you learn from this process of essentially becoming a one-man band?”
“That there are musicians out there who are really good at what they do, and I look forward to playing with them again,” Connick says with a laugh. “Cause, you know, this album is all heart. I mean, it is all heart. On this album I played trumpet, I played saxophone and it was an amazing experience and I got what I wanted to get across, across but, you know, there are people who are really good at their jobs like recording engineers and people who set up mics and I’m looking forward to the day when I can work with them.”
Dawson asks, “Is there a song on the album that maybe touched you more than others?”
Connick says, “I love ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ just because it’s a beautiful melody and I felt comforted when I sang it, because the whole message of that song is, “We all have a cross to bear.” Certainly not like the one for which the song was named, but we’re going to get through this. You know, we’re going to cling to this and exchange it one day for a crown. So, when you’re singing about that you know it’s pretty, pretty powerful stuff.”
Dawson says, “Harry, God is a creator, so when an artist like you creates music, he’s displaying the image of God. Do you think about that when you use your talents?”
“Yeah, it’s a great question,” says Connick. “So ‘How Great Thou Art’ is a terrific song. And if you interpret it as, ‘I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed,’ like what is that? Well, for me it’s – in this particular case New Orleans piano. So ‘How Geat Thou Art’ is not a song that you would normally associate with kind of a bluesy New Orleans piano and here I am at the piano playing this (making musical notes) dink, dink, dink, dink, dink, dink, dink, dink, dink.”
“And I started saying, ‘Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder…’ and I’m like, ‘Among the stars and the rolling thunder, can we have a little New Orleans piano in there too?’ I mean, that’s another version of that art. So yeah, I do think about that and I think that, you know, this is a gift I have from God and I’m going to try my best to use it, you know, in the best ways that I can.”
With 2020 in the rear view and having spent time “alone with his faith,” Harry hopes his latest album brings comfort to others.
“I’m not worried about myself. Man, I’ve been really lucky in my life and, you know, I have a wonderful family and I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time at home that I hadn’t planned on. But in terms of me getting out on the road and performing, that’s going to happen when it happens. My thoughts and hopes and prayers are with all the people that are helping us get through it. You know, all of the people that are cleaning up the hospitals and the teachers, the people working at the grocery stores, the scientists, the people in public office, the people who are really dedicating themselves to, you know, helping us get through it.”
Connick continues, “This album really helped me. It really helped me and I hope it can help the people who listen to it, I think, although there are Christian songs on this album, there’s a lot of people who have faith in different ways, and I would hope that they would recognize how important my faith is to me and I hope that would give them some comfort knowing that. And for people who don’t have any faith at all, I hope they enjoy the musical experience and I hope that they can understand why this is important to me just as I can understand that their beliefs are important to them.”