What The Hell Is Goin’ On?
The Iranians are less than a year away from going nuclear, if you believe Netanyahu. If you believe one of our local right-wing radio talk show hosts, NOAA is buying lots of hollow-point ammunition. Yeah, NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (If you think about it, it’s got to be pretty hard to administer oceans and the atmosphere, even with hollow points.) The Arab Spring is turning to winter, we just lost the U.S. ambassador in Libya, and we just passed the 11th anniversary of 9/11. The economy isn’t quite where anybody would want it to be unless you’re a Wall Street banker.
So we read all this and we think about what if. Americana/alt-country musicians are way ahead of us, though. They’ve already been thinking about it and writing songs. Take, for example, Corb Lund. His new record has a song called Gettin’ Down On The Mountain, with lyrics like this: “I think I see a rip in the social fabric, brother can you spare some ammo?” Check out the video:
Lund isn’t the only one. Consider In The Mean Time, a song from Chris Knight’s new record. “Well you might wanna think about getting yourself a shotgun. You might wanna think about growing you a garden patch.” And he goes on, “I’m pretty sure that the government ain’t gonna save you, the good Lord helps the ones that help themselves.” Have a listen:
And then there’s Paul Thorn. His new record is called What The Hell Is Goin’ On?, and the title song sums up the nervousness and angst a lot of people are feeling these days. I asked Thorn about this song a few days ago during the Americana Music Association Festival and Conference.
“It was written by my friend Elvin Bishop. He played it for me on his front porch when I was visiting at his house. When I heard it for the first time I said to myself this song really speaks to the times we’re living in. There’re some things that I’m worried about. And that thing is friends and family that I know even being able to buy groceries for their family to eat. I wish I had nothing but smiles and roses to tell you about, but there’s a lot of people in trouble right now. I’m hoping this thing will turn around. Is it going to? I don’t know.”
I asked Thorn whether the song is resonating with his audiences. He said that it was. “Everybody’s scared, everybody’s uncertain. I have a good career, but in certain areas where I’ve gone in this country the past year there were fewer people at the shows. I don’t think it’s because I’ve lost fans. I think a lot of my fans are broke, they’re trying to make it week to week. And I understand that.”
The official video for What The Hell Is Going On? is well done, and it’s a good song, even if we wish some of this stuff wasn’t going on. But it is. “The world’s getting way too crazy for me … hey hey hey people, what the hell is going on?” Anyway, here’s the video:
Well at least with music like this, the end times won’t be so bad, as long as we’ve got power. I’m heading out to buy some gas for the generator. And stock up on canned goods.
Mando Lines is on Twitter @mando_lines as long as we’ve got the internet.