2011’s version of “Lookin’ for the Truth” begins with a guitar riff straight out of the Rolling Stones before sliding into a rootsy groove akin to John Hiatt in a growly, bluesy mood. Written about 30 years ago for his band Moonbeam, Michael “Murch” Powers’ song delivers two quick stanza bursts of stories about teenagers seeking something more in their lives. Powers returned to the song, rerecording it for the rock ‘n’ rolling Revolutionary Boogie, and the song hasn’t lost its connection. Teenagers are still looking for a higher truth beyond dying from drugs or getting pregnant while still too young. Actually, the song’s chorus about American youth looking for the truth aches with a spiritual search that stays with us long beyond those teenage years.
In December, Powers will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame as part of the Local Blues Talent of New York. Such an induction recognizes the 40 years that Powers has contributed his talents to the blues world. Being first influenced by the porch blues of the South, but then later lapping up all of the British blues rock bands, Powers brings his wide-ranging talents to two New York City residencies: an acoustic show each Mondays and a full-on electric band show on Fridays. That is, when Powers isn’t traveling to blues festivals and shows around the globe.
“Lookin’ for the Truth” reflects not only the dual sides of Powers playing—the electric blues and rootsy folk blues—but it also points towards his faith in God. In a phone interview, Powers said that the song reflects a deep spirituality “like when you’re driving on the highway, looking for some city, find out you’re on the wrong road, and you turn around and find the right road. Finding the truth—that’s what you’re really put here for. We all go through different stuff to find that.”
Besides the song’s focus on the search that youth go through, Powers talked about the spiritual search he’s seen in the blues world. “I started out with really raw blues cats who had a big battle, battling on Saturday night, but then on Sunday, they’d be singing Gospel.”
I asked Powers about that battle and how he has maintained his faith, and he admitted, “Friday night, sometimes it’s hard. It’s a dark night.”
Overall, though, Powers keeps his perspective: “Music is a great thing, but what’s greater than music is the person who created it. God. Put the Creator first, and everything else will follow.” Powers credits jazz musician George Benson for that insight given during a conversation thay had years ago.
Meanwhile, Powers keeps growing as a musician—as well as a Christian. He plans on developing an album done in the style of Chess Records where it’s “real simple, no overproducing, everyone in the same room.” That might best describe the spiritual vibe I get from Powers also: real simple—focused on God, no overproducing—humble before God, and everyone in the same room—accompanied by the Spirit.