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Iron Horse 30th show, other summer stuff...What IS a protest song, anyway?

Hi VanceFans,

Here’s where I’ll be this next few weeks:

Friday May 19th, Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA Gilbert

May 18 - 21 Spring Gulch Folk Festival, New Holland PA,

Saturday June 3 Center for Spiritual Living Morristown NJ.

Sunday June 4 The State Theatre New Brunswick, NJ (Jay Leno closes the show...)

July 8 - 9 New Bedford Folk Festival, New Bedford MA.



Two different groups of people are looking for protest songs from me. I know and have a few. Now, I seem to have a bevy of songs that speak to our goodness if we get the chance to look at our lives. But popular protest songs proper...I see why they’re important, as it is an opportunity to rally one’s self around others in the face of ideas to which one is diametrically opposed. However, most popular protest songs are most commonly sung by the privileged to the privileged. Preaching. Choir.

Save for the New Folk Music aka HipHop. But that’s another conversation.

The best protest songs, to me, are songs that tell a personal story with characters and a storyline that take a look at the issue or issues and put a face to it/them, rather than flag waving anthemic things. Then there’s Blowing In The Wind by the current Nobel laureate rule breaker, and a few other examples.

You have to understand, for a sheltered inner city Philly Black boy, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, CSNY’s Ohio, Phil Och’s I Ain’t Marchin, and Other Dylan stuff was White people singing stuff Black people were hollering about for years. I didn’t hear Master Of War until I was out of college. Hell, it was *folk* music, and had nothing to do with me. Now look at me. I’ve worked with 2 of the folks mentioned there.

Marvin Gaye has a few. What’s Going On, along with Gil Scott Heron’s Winter In America were the protest albums in my house. Aretha’s version of Respect, and Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come weren’t on my radar as protest songs. James Brown’s Black and Proud was *too* Black and protesty in my house, as we didn’t want to upset anyone.

I have a few. Someone once wrote me back that I needed to "stay out of politics because musicians that lend their names to causes get labeled as political singers…” What a sad record collection they must have.

What are folks protesting? I guess there’s a supremacist uptick all over the world added to a consolidation of that kind of power in places. I think people need water, food, and healthcare all over the world. If protesting brings those needs to light, then "make me wanna holler, throw up both my hands” is my themesong... Bring it.

xo vg

Performance, Songwriting, & Voice Coaching, Private Parties, yes I do it all. Getta hole of me. I’m less expensive than you think.