Hey Man, Is That Freedom Rock?

Protest Playlist Update:

What’s NOT on the list;

  • I skipped Pearl Jam, TV On The Radio, & the Decemberists for personal taste reasons
  • I haven’t been able to find Billy Bragg – “The Price of Oil” or Lenny Kravitz – “We Want Peace”
  • Ani Difranco – “Self Evident” (8 minute spoken-word poetry reading. Though powerful, not what I was looking for)
  • Todd Snider – “Ballad of The Kingsmen” (Great song, but I found one of his much more topical as seen in the list below)
  • Lucy Kaplansky – “Line In the Sand” (Again, nice song but it seems to be more about the Israeli conflict & not what I was looking for)
  • James McMurtry – “We Can’t Make it Here” (Though great – unfortunately not really an anti-war song)

What IS on the list;

  • Bright Eyes – “When The President Talks To God” (Admittedly not the best song writing or performing in the world, but it works)
  • Tom Waits – “Day After Tomorrow” (written as a letter home from a soldier who is questioning why & who he’s fighting – classic Waits)
  • Pink (with the Indigo Girls) – “Dear Mr. President” (This song actually raises Pink’s credibility a notch or two for me – I’m impressed with its honesty)
  • Merle Haggard – “Rebuild America First” (Merle being Merle – Gotta love it, even if you don’t totally agree with it)
  • Nanci Griffith – “Big Blue Ball Of War” (I love Nanci & this one showcases her story-telling abilities with lyrics about war & its effect on our world)
  • Ben Harper – “Gather ‘Round the Stone” (About a fallen soldier – Ben’s anger about the whole situation is evident in his writing & his voice)
  • John Prine – “Some Humans Ain’t Human” (Takes a while to get to the anti-war statement, but a great overall song)
  • John Mellencamp – “To Washington” (A pretty good protest song, but would be better if he didn’t try to over-do the fake folk-rock voice)
  • R.E.M. – “The Final Straw” (Not their first anti-war song, but probably their first aimed directly at Bush)
  • Paula Cole – “My Hero, Mr. President” (Tongue-in-cheek irony – not bad… but not great either)
  • Lucy Kaplansky – “Land of the Living” (A very poignant take on the 9/11 tragedy – beautifully done)
  • Todd Snider – “You Got Away With It (A Tale of Two Fraternity Brothers)” (From the point of view of one of Dubya’s old frat brothers – funny & well… not so funny at the same time.)
  • Cowboy Junkies – “December Skies” (One of the only original tunes from their protest album – the haunting chorus “Let’s kill our children & sing about it” really sticks with you)
  • Keb’ Mo’ – “Talk” (Again, the only original song from an album of protest cover songs – offers a solution to conflict that doesn’t involve war)
  • Pete Seeger (with Billy Bragg, Ani DiFranco & Steve Earle) – “Bring Them Home” (One of the godfathers of the protest song with some of the artists carrying that torch today doing a new version of one of his classics)
  • Son Volt – “Endless War” (This is protest rock – much like Neil Young – great stuff)
  • Steve Earle – “Rich Man’s War” (Thanks for this one Willie – this list wouldn’t be complete without it)
  • Tori Amos – “Yo George” (short, but straight-forward & to the point)
  • Willie Nelson (feat. Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Michael McDonald, Patrick Simmons, and Willie’s sons Lukas and Micah) – “Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?” (released originally kind of as a Christmas song, but it’s classic Willie just speaking his mind)
  • Allison Moorer – “All Aboard” (great song about blind bandwagon patriotism)
  • Dar Williams – “Empire” (kind of poppy-folk with outstanding lyrics – and as a Star Wars fan, I have to love the fact that she refers to the US as ‘the Empire’)
  • Josh Ritter – “Girl in the War” (Nice use of symbolism leaves it open for interpretation – I like it)
  • Mary Gauthier – “Mercy Now” (‘Only the hand of grace can end the race towards another mushroom cloud’ – beautiful song & excellent lyrics)
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