A note on this song:
Three summers ago, I watched in horror as the White House’s No. 1 white supremacist condemned the “violence on many sides” when armed white supremacists and Neonazis marched proudly through the city of Charlottesville, VA and a white supremacist terrorist murdered Heather Heyer. A song started forming in my head right then, a song that wanted to turn this false moral equivalency on its head, to disavow the “both-sides-ism” that those in power continually use to silence righteous anger and squash every chance we in this country get at real change. There’s a truth there, though not at all in the way he meant it: there are many sides to this violence. There’s the violence of policing, the violence of immigration policy, the violence of mass incarceration, the violence of rampant environmental destruction, the violence of unfettered, predatory capitalism, the violence of systemic racism and the silent complicity of white people in it over 400 years, the violence of drone strikes and endless war, the violence of poverty and lack of access to health care, and so much more.
But look out now: the resistance is coming from many more sides. It’s happening in the streets. It’s happening online. It’s happening in the ballots. It’s happening in our hearts and minds and souls, in our books and movies and songs. It’s happening as we all look at this deeply flawed country we call home on the anniversary of its independence, and know that its promise of life, liberty, and happiness was penned by a slaveowner and built quite literally on the backs of Black and Native Americans, whose lives were pillaged for the sake of a whitewashed dream.
I am not proud of my country. But I am proud of millions of its people who are fighting oppression every day, in ways both large and small, and I believe that we all have the power to decolonize our minds, unite our broken hearts, and radically transform the corrupt systems on which this country was and is built.
This song started as an anti-Trump protest anthem, but it just kept on growing new verses as I slowly grasped the fact that Trump is just one head of the many-headed monster of systemic racism, predatory capitalism, and patriarchy. I know the song will keep on growing, just as the movement for black lives, for trans lives, for human rights, for real equality, real justice, and real peace, will keep on growing.
I am incredibly honored to have three of the most powerful voices I’ve ever known, from three of the most beautiful humans I am lucky enough to call friends, grace this song: Renee Benson, brilliant singer, composer, educator, and thinker and my musical wife of thirteen glorious years; Yva Las Vegass, a songwriting genius whose voice seems to capture every conceivable human emotion all at once - Yva is one of my great musical heroes and I’m overjoyed to be collaborating with her at long last; and finally Werner Kitzmüller, a vocalist, songwriter, and visual artist of staggering depth (literally and figuratively), who I’m honored to call a friend and bandmate. Getting to raise my voice alongside these three celestial beings (even remotely) has been one of the greatest gifts of these past few months.
And knitting together all these voices, recorded from the “many sides” of New Orleans, Vienna, and New York, is my partner-in-everything, co-producer/engineer Bernd Klug, whose supersonic listening and superhuman support made it possible to share this music with the world.
All proceeds for this release will go to the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival, which is carrying out the unfinished legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (who started the original Poor People’s Campaign in 1968), working tirelessly across the country to end, in their words, “the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, ecological devastation, the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.” Please learn more about the amazing work they're doing here: