Vocation Carol: Alexis Cole Shares ‘Rise Up, Shepherd And Follow’ as Free Christmas Download

Paul Keggington

December 10, 2010

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity feature Alexis Cole with family and friends in  ‘Rise Up, Shepherd And Follow’, a vibrant-jazzy call to follow Jesus this 2010 Advent/Christmas Season.

This song is one of many inspirational eclectic arrangements from the Christmas benefit album ‘The Greatest Gift’, a recording which profits World Bicycle Relief.  

Comments from Alexis

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity feature Alexis Cole this Christmas Season on Franciscanized World.

The story behind the arrangement of Rise Up Shepherd and Follow:  I studied Indian Classical singing in Mumbai, India in 1999.  It was my first time outside of the US, what an amazing opportunity!  The sounds of drones and overtones resonated deep within me, and I have been weaving them into my live performances ever since, but never had a chance to record anything in that vein.  I felt that with this spiritual, Rise Up Shepherd and Follow, that it would work, both musically and contextually.  

I love the lyrics of this song.  They really speak to the concept of abandoning ones self to God, leaving everything to follow.  I think the second verse is most powerful: “If you take good heed to the angel’s words, Rise up, shepherd, and follow. You’ll forget your flocks, you’ll forget your herds, Rise up, shepherd, and follow.”  Having the courage to drop everything and go, like the shepherds did, is one of the key lessons of the bible.  

Musically, the Indian drone and tabla beats remind me of wise men on camels, the east, the desert.  At the end of the track I laid down some overtone singing laden with reverb.  Basic overtone singing, or the ability to produce two notes simultaneously, was a skill I acquired just before the final recording sessions of this project.  I knew that track needed one more thing.  I wanted it to add a new dimension, and leave the listener with an other worldly feeling.  

I hope you enjoy it!  Merry Christmas!

Bio of Alexis Cole

Velvet-voiced jazz vocalist Alexis Cole is cited as ‘a rising star in the jazz world’ by Hot House Magazine.  She has been featured on NBC’s NY Morning Show and in magazines  Time Out NY, Downbeat, Jazz Times, Swing Journal, All About Jazz and many more. Radio show host Jonathan Schwartz calls Cole, “One of the Greats.” Her seven releases can be heard on stations around the world.  Cole can often be seen performing both internationally and in NYC’s top venues, Avery Fischer Hall & Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center, Smoke, The Oak Room, The Kitano and others.  Jazz Weekly calls Cole’s album The Greatest Gift, ‘A gift to mankind,’ and Cashbox Magazine says that ‘Cole’s soulful voice resonates long after the album has played its final notes.’ Her 2010 release You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To on Venus Records in Japan features Alexis with the internationally acclaimed band One For All.  Also known as Sergeant Cole, Alexis is lead vocalist with the Jazz Knights Big Band at West Point.




Rise Up, Shepherd And Follow Lyrics

There’s a star in the East on Christmas morn,
Rise up, shepherd, and follow.
It will lead to the place where the Christ was born,
Rise up, shepherd, and follow.


Follow, follow, rise up, shepherd, and follow.
Over the hill to Bethlehem,
Rise up, shepherd, and follow.

If you take good heed to the angel’s words,
Rise up, shepherd, and follow.
You’ll forget your flocks, you’ll forget your herds,
Rise up, shepherd, and follow.

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