Won't You Be My Neighbor? [Ltd Edition Signed Charity EP]

Won't You Be My Neighbor? [Ltd Edition Signed Charity EP]


A stripped down EP of political music to benefit refugee aid. With background vocal contributions from Josh Ritter, Nickel Creek's Sean Watkins, Israel Nash, The Mastersons, Michaela Anne, Lizzie No, and Miwi La Lupa.

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It all started in The Hague. I was backstage getting ready for the first night of a European tour when the Dutch venue crew turned on a live broadcast of the inauguration. The rest of the trip was spent responding to questions about American current events that had no good answers. Dressing room conversations often centered around feelings of frustration and helplessness at being so far away from home during such a tumultuous time. These songs are my attempt at channeling that anxiety and energy into something productive and positive.

I wanted to bring together a group of artists I admired and create a collection of political music for a cause I believe in, but I also wanted to push on the idea of what exactly makes a song political. The tracks here are a mix of covers and originals reimagined for a year in which kindness and empathy have become their own form of political statements. I'm not sure "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has ever served as a protest anthem, but in these days of refugee bans, ICE raids, and border walls, I can't hear it as anything else.

The collection opens with "This Land Is Your Land," but perhaps not the version you're used to hearing. I used Woody Guthrie's full 1940 lyrics, in which he denounces walls and bears witness to the struggle of the poor. "As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if this land was made for you and me," he pondered. We don't teach those verses in school, but I think they're important. Being patriotic means holding the country you love accountable to its own ideals and asking those tough questions.

All profits from sales of this collection will be donated to the IRC (International Rescue Committee) to help fund their efforts aiding refugees around the world. Everything was recorded at no cost in bedrooms and home studios around the country, the art and packaging was done by hand at home with recycled cardboard sleeves, and all the guests contributed their time and talent out of the goodness of their hearts. I want to thank them and thank you for picking up a copy of this CD and contributing to the cause. It may seem like a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, but every little bit counts in the fight for what's right.