Campaign '08: Artists Prep Protest Albums

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With Election Day approaching, musicians are rolling out politically charged tunes. On October 28th, Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel will release Heart Burns, a seven-track EP of fired-up folk punk, including "Amputations," about wounded Iraq War vets. Lucinda Williams revisits Sixties anthems on Lu in 08, a digital-only four-song EP (out October 28th) featuring covers of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" and Bob Dylans "Masters of War." Wilco and Fleet Foxes team up to cover another Dylan song, a stunning live version of "I Shall Be Released," available as a free download on Wilco's Website — to anyone who pledges to vote. And soul great Mavis Staples' Live: Hope at the Hideout (out November 4th) nods to the civil rights era with covers of folk tunes and spirituals, including "Wade in the Water" and "This Little Light." "We're not where we need to be as far as racism and injustice," says Staples. "But if Obama can get in and be president, we'll see a change."

Rock for Barack Barack Obama's campaign has enlisted musicians to contribute to Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement, an 18-song fundraising album. The compilation — at barackobama.com — features a new song from Kanye West, Adam Levine and Malik Yusef ("Promised Land"), John Legend's cover of U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and previously released tunes by Stevie Wonder, John Mayer and others. " 'Pride' was originally a tribute to Martin Luther King," says Legend. "Obama is a manifestation of Dr. King's dream." Also supporting Obama: Jim James, who'll play an acoustic set at an Obama fundraiser in Chicago on October 8th, and the National and the Breeders, playing a Cincinnati benefit on October 16th. To urge fans to cast ballots, voters will be bused to local precincts after the show.

[From Issue 1063 — October 16, 2008]

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