“In good faith” is a term of candor, abstract but comprehensive. It means ‘we trust you’, but what does it mean today, when our current events are sung to us by actors who insist we can’t trust nothing? The second single heralding the first new Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album in years is called just that “In Good Faith.” Here, the foundational principles of abiding belief and pursuit of righteousness are considered as part of the eternal miracle of our life on earth.
Joan Shelley sings the title as a repeated refrain while Bonnie brings the spirit forward with the words between and Nathan Salsburg contributes lyric lead guitar lines, making for a luminescent, languid song of acceptance and faith in something bigger, open and questioning despite all the slings and arrows.
The video for this number, directed by Timothy Morton (who has previously collaborated with Bonnie on the “Blueberry Jam” video), places the song’s intent even more meaningfully in the landscape of America today by juxtaposing images from a documentary Morton is currently making about the living tradition of Sacred Harp singing. This acapella form of choral singing is rooted in early American history, and over the past several centuries has attracted diverse participants across our vast geography and entwined cultures.
The Sacred Harp gatherings are open to all, with participants often traveling long distances, to contribute in any form they wish. Shape-note singing is a participatory form of folk music that is not commercialized, as it is ultimately just a part of the daily living of those who participate. With Will and Joan’s palliative vocals guiding the way, the contributors are seen living their lives, waiting and ready to deliver their abilities in all that they do for themselves and their community “in good faith.”