The Whiskey Treaty’s Response to Charlottesville
I’ve long since lost the ability to be unbiased when it comes to the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow: two years ago, when I was playing writer on weekends, and they were playing band more often than that, they welcomed me into their homes, and let me be a part of something larger than myself, rather than an outside observer, or something to be kept at arm’s length.
I met the people beyond the music: parents, friends, girlfriends, wives – most recently, a Whiskey Treaty baby – and found a community of giant hearts and thoughtful souls, whom I wished to live more like.
Since finishing that article (before finishing the article, really), I counted the Whiskey Treaty as friends.
Then Charlottesville, and the horrifying weekend of violence, bigotry, and hatred, which was then compounded by another grave dissapointment from the highest office in the United States.
And as one does in that situation, I sought refuge in the words of a friend.
Late Tuesday night, my e-mail pinged with a final cut of the Whiskey Treaty’s, “Close to the Edge,” which Billy Keane first penned in the wake of Freddie Gray’s murder and Ferguson, Missouri. Sadly, two years later, those words are still soberingly true – likely more true now than then – as they bring into focus the foundational cracks in modern day America.
Problems we’d hoped to have solved long ago have reared their ugly heads, and yet again, we stand on ground unfirm, marked by strife, discord, and loss of life.
“Close to the Edge” was being finalized before the events of the weekend transpired, written years before that, yet it feels a necessary musical response in this unfortunate historical moment, as its sidewalk poetry ties simplicity into nuance, and insulates with hope.
“Close to the Edge” are the comforting words of a friend – someone grabbing you by the shoulder, saying “We’ll figure it out.”
And, in spite of it all, a friend remains something we should count ourselves lucky to have.
From Billy Keane:
“It is not the hateful factions in this country that define us as a whole. The actions we take in the face of adversity are the truer vantages into the spirit and soul of our America. When they march, we will march longer. When they shout, we will sing louder. When they seek to oppress, we will rise and lift each other higher. When they turn a blind eye to the passive undercurrent of social bigotry still flowing among us, we will continue to actively seek it out and quash it at the source, because we cannot afford to wait for change to effect us. We must effect change. And I still believe a change will come. – BK”