Joshua Tree, Calif.
(AP) The soundtrack to the 2013 documentary “Hillsong” is a perfect example of a band whose name may have been written for the genre of folk rock but who have spent a lifetime crafting tunes for everyone from jazz musicians to rock stars.
“Hillsongs,” the band’s ninth studio album, is the story of a man named Joe Hill who grew up in rural Georgia and later joined a band that became one of the country’s most influential, and critically acclaimed, bands.
The film tells the story through the lens of his band’s frontman, Bob Rafferty, who was born in Mississippi in 1950 and grew up near Savannah, Georgia.
The song “Someday I’ll Be Your Man” opens with a refrain about how Hill never gave up on his dream to be a musician, and it’s a sentiment that rings true to many of the characters in “Hicksong.”
But “Soms” is the most powerful track on the album, and the first to take Hill’s words literally.
Rafferty’s performance, which is one of several highlights on the record, is as convincing as ever.
The lyrics aren’t all about music and comedy: They’re about perseverance, passion, and commitment.
They also serve as the soundtrack for Hill’s struggles with addiction, depression, and other struggles that were more common among young people of color at the time.
Rachael Kudacki, one of Hill’s closest friends, said he told her he had become addicted to drugs and was suicidal.
He was in rehab.
Rafferter was in jail.
And his family was in a constant state of grief and anxiety.
“I can’t believe I am going to be talking about this stuff in my life, but I think about it a lot,” Kudakis said.
“I think about all the kids I know, all the young kids who don’t have a dad or a mother who will stand by them, who will go out there and have that faith in the God that’s in front of them and that love.”
Kudaki said Rafferters commitment to the band was “the thing that kept him going.”
The band is still active.
But it’s been a while since Hill played in front or at a live show, and Rafferts wife, Mary, has since left him.
Ratchets son, Jontel, played in Hill’s band, but it wasn’t until Hill’s death in 2015 that Raffert finally got the chance to see his father.
It was a life-changing experience.
“You get to see that you were the person that really made his life,” Raffertt said.
“And that you could do that.
I don’t think you’ll ever see that again.”
He went on to find his way to his own spiritual awakening.
Roughly a year after his father died, Raffertty returned to Georgia, and his son, Rachael, followed in his footsteps.
The story of “Hellsong” wasn’t written for Hill.
The album is filled with stories about people of all races and backgrounds who are all still struggling with the same things: addiction, mental health, and mental illness.
It’s a testament to the power of music, especially in the era of social media, to empower those in need.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Roughty talked about how he first met Hill and how the album helped him find solace in a world where he often felt lost.
“In the ’80s, we lived in Atlanta, Georgia, so I grew up around a lot of people that were struggling,” Roughts son said.
I felt like I was a part of it.
I felt as though I was part of the solution, but then when it was time for me to get back into the mainstream, I was like, ‘What?
This doesn’t feel right.
This isn’t right.'”
It wasn’t just about music, though.
The film focuses on how Raffertz family was able to rebuild after the loss of a parent, his wife of 12 years, and their two children.
It also highlights how Hill, his bandmates, and others were able to continue their journey after he passed away.
“They were the most wonderful people in my whole life,” Hill’s son said of the band members.
“There were people that I wouldn’t have met or not seen or heard of in my entire life if it weren’t for them.
And they’re still around.”
Roughty said he is still struggling to find a sense of purpose in life.
“This has been a great journey for me, and I’m trying to find the right way to deal with it,” he said.
Ruffetts family has remained strong and supportive.
And he’s hopeful that “Hollsong” will help other people, too.