What does it mean to say you’ve witnessed something? Maybe you were simply in the right place at the right time; maybe you were a bystander who watched silently as an event played out before you. But to bear Witness implies something more powerful.
When you Bear Witness in a courtroom or a church, you’re an active party, testifying as to what you’ve seen. One who bears witness speaks of her firsthand experience — of an incident, of spiritual enlightenment, of truth itself — back into the world so that it might change an outcome or a life.
It’s that second sort that interests Benjamin Booker in “Witness,” the title track from the follow-up to his explosive 2014 debut. The New Orleans-based songwriter — who’s favored a sound like the blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll mixed with gasoline and a lit cigarette — leans into more explicitly gospel territory here, letting his strepitous guitar take a backseat to an upright-piano melody and choral harmonies.
Booker mourns violence against black bodies and hints at the insidious consequences of bearing false witness: “Thought that we saw that he had a gun / Thought that it looked like he started to run." Read more at: http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2017/03/09/519214472/songs-we-love-benjamin-booker-witness-feat-mavis-staples