Music 2022
Benjamin Russell - Miracle 2021 (the John Roland Penner mix)
  • © 2022 Benjamin Russell 0

Benjamin Russell


Song by Benjamin Russell
Remixed and Reimagined by Rob Stuart

Spacial - the final frontier?
No one was more surprised than I to see how my CFNY hit song from the 80s came alive this year with a brand new mix. Now here we go again!

Producer extraordinaire,
Rob Stuart, who had loved the original when he heard it on CFNY back when it was listed in the top songs of all time, heard the first 2021 version when he was contacted by Kevin Alberga, whose brainchild the John Roland Penner mix had been. Kevin asked Rob to give it a spin on his weekly Mixtape Show on which he enthusiastically did. Kevin then put Rob in touch with me and I sent him the stems. MIRACLE 2021 (Rob Stuart's Spacial Remix) is the result.

Elyce and I were over the moon when we heard it! It's a radical re-conception. "Spacial" is the operative word! Combining some of the best elements of his ambient work with the power of his SLAVE to the SQUAREwave production, the new mix left us breathless!

Now it is being unleashed on the unsuspecting world - as Rob is fond of saying, "No one is waiting for this, let's take our time." Well, they might not have been expecting it, but here it comes, October 21, 2021, everywhere you get your music online!

MIRACLE is dedicated to Elyce - my inspiration and partner in life and music.

Song by Benjamin Russell
Arranged & produced by John Roland Penner
Remixed & mastered by TREPANIC

This song has a life of its own…
When I wrote it back in the early 80s, I was in production for the electronic pop album for which I was nominated Most Promising Male Vocalist in the 1985 CASBY Awards. Two other songs from that album were chosen as singles but CFNY championed MIRACLE and it went into heavy rotation even though there was no music video.

My relationship with my manager/record company was terminal by the time I was nominated and we didn't even sit at the same table at the nationally televised event, so the song became a kind of orphan. But it didn't die. For years it continued to make the CFNY top songs of all time charts.

Years passed, I continued to write and produce music, releasing a bunch of albums exploring other musical avenues but I continued to get requests from fans for MIRACLE - where could they buy it? The record company had gone out of business before the advent of CDs, so MIRACLE was only available on vinyl (or cassette) if you were lucky enough to find it used, on Ebay or Discogs. In 2012, I decided enough was enough and recorded a new more acoustic version with sax and real drums played by Mike Bessette (the drummer in my first band from the late 70s). I released
MIRACLE (MIRACLE OF LOVE) on my SUNDOG album. This time I made sure there was a video.

But the hunger for the electronic version was not satisfied. Enter
Kevin Alberga. "I always loved this song," says Kevin. "It resonated in my heart. When my son was lying in a coma, hanging onto life by a thread, I stayed by his side. They told me he might not wake up. I wasn't going to let that happen. I got down on my knees, cried and prayed. I knew my son could hear me. I played music to stimulate his brain. Over and over I looped "This Is The Day" by The The and "Miracle" by Benjamin Russell. All I can tell you is that my son is back living with us today."

Kevin made contact to see if he could talk me into making a new electronic version of MIRACLE. Once I heard the story, I couldn't refuse. It's hard to refuse Kevin anything - he's a dynamo of energy and enthusiasm. The next thing I knew, he'd introduced me to the multi-talented producer extraordinaire,
John Roland Penner.

Things moved fast. Remember it's COVID. I'm in Montreal, Kevin and John are in Toronto, but communications flew back and forth. John conscripted
John Boldt (his long-time musical accomplice) to soar in his electric guitar tracks across the lake from St. Catherines to Sternelicht Studio on Toronto Island. I flew in my vocal tracks, Penner worked his magic, and the result is this new version: MIRACLE 2021 (the John Roland Penner mix). I was blown away when I heard the first mix (yesterday, as I write). He asked me for some more synths. I quickly put down a couple of tracks and fired them off. Today, the final mix arrived. I mean, "WOW, John!"

That's today. Kevin says, "We need a cover and we have to get this to some guys I know, important DJs."

I'm thinking, "OK, are you sure? I mean I usually live with a mix for a few months before releasing it."

Kevin: "No, trust me - this is it. It's ready. People are waiting. What do you have for the cover?"

It just so happens that yesterday when I heard the first mix, it stirred some ideas. I woke from a dream this morning with the concept fully formed. So we have the cover. Now we have the completely new electronic version:
MIRACLE 2021 (the John Roland Penner mix). Are you ready?

MIRACLE is dedicated to Elyce - my inspiration and partner in life and music.