Alma Mater – Mercy

Mercy (seen/heard here) is from Alma Mater, a band made up of Dirk Sullivan and Andrew Paul Woodworth, and their upcoming long-player, The Beginning Of Everything (release date not set). It’s all about showing kindness, empathy, and compassion, to those around us that simply confound us. It is so easy to react with negativity to these sorts of people. We have seen that sort of negativity gather in the winds that have blown hate and division around the world in the recent past. Mercy provides a wonderful message and does so with a delightful melody and lyrics.

Sullivan and Woodworth are veterans of the Los Angeles, California, and Portland, Oregon, music scenes, having spent two decades recording and touring. As projects go, the pandemic offered up a need for music therapy that was satisfied by meeting in Woodworth’s garage where they crafted music together. Sullivan had been mesmerized by an alternate tuning on his guitar and found himself writing songs at a rapid pace with the new tuning. From a life experience standpoint, Sullivan was just coming off a divorce and wrestling with the slow demise of his mother, while Woodworth was anxiously awaiting his first child. These disparate life experiences allowed for some transformational collaboration lyrically. 

This song and the wonderful folk-pop music that the combination of Sullivan and Woodworth promises to create are great news, but there are a couple of negatives. There is no one-stop shop for all things Alma Mater. While there is a website, it’s missing any social or streaming links, though it does have a very nice biography. It should at the minimum link to their Instagram page. Worst still, a search for the band name “Alma Mater” will churn out several bands that have nothing to do with Sullivan or Woodworth. Couple that with the fact that “Alma Mater” is associated with basically every school or college in the world, and you get a murky picture. Before an LP is released, changing the band name or making it a single word, say “AlmaMater” might allow them to shine through the search debris. Reaching an audience musically has a lot to do with marketing. 

If these two can overcome these negatives in marketing, their music should speak for itself in a big way. Mercy is officially released tomorrow (March 23). You can also take a look at their first single, Fading Moon, released earlier, which is another marvelous piece of music. Check out Mercy now!

Update March 24, 2023: The review has been updated to include the band’s website which went live since the review was posted.