This past Saturday marked day 100 of Our First 100 Days, a project started in conjunction with Secretly Group and 30 Days, 30 Songs. Over the course of Our First 100 Days, we’ve raised funds and awareness for organizations supporting causes that are under threat by the proposed policies of a Trump administration: All Above All, Cosecha, Hoosier Action, People’s Climate Movement, and Southerners On New Ground. Our own Phosphorescent contributed the final song – a fitting cover of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.” Matthew Houck’s full statement on his contribution can be read below:
“Sometime about a year ago
I heard “This Land Is Your Land”
And it brought me to tears
Like maybe most Americans I guess I’ve known it forever
It’s one of those magic ones that snuck through somehow
And slipped into the jet-stream of collective consciousness
Just like Woody Guthrie himself did
Somebody out there on the internet had made a collage of footage
Of thousands of folks singing this song together at Bernie Sanders rallies
Voices raised together in a spirit of generosity;
Then juxtaposed it with footage from Trump rallies from that time
People punching, spitting, yelling
So much hate and anger
So much ugliness;
Everyone at ease with the empty mean-ness of it all;
Everyone agreeing on impotent vile-ness
As basic human-ness
There were a handful of Phosphorescent shows around that time
And I started singing This Land Is Your Land during the set
But it didn’t then and still doesn’t now feel political
I’m not sure I fully grasp what constitutes “political”
The other night over a drink with a friend
It came up that I was gonna record this song for this 100 Days benefit
“Oh that’ll do it,” he joked, “That’ll fix everything.”
And I laughed cuz I reckon he is right in a lot of ways
And I can be as jaded as anybody
Depending on the hour, day, mood
But I don’t want to live there
So anyway, what is this politics?
Where does personal end and politics begin?
Are all songs political?
Is this a political song?
Regardless, does an 80-year-old folk song have any purchase in 2017?
Do “most Americans” know it?
Does that matter?
Does this / Can this do anything
As relates to the 100th day in office
Of a “President” of a “Nation” ?
I don’t know
I only know that it speaks to that looming thing
That has stayed near me my whole life;
That thing that wants nothing to do with fear
Or selfishness or pettiness or greed;
That thing which blindly and stubbornly
Persists in believing in the sweetness of this world
It speaks to that thing and says,
“Stay a little longer hey,
This land was made for you and me”
April 27 2017“