To coincide with today’s presidential election, James McMurtry has released a new politically charged song called “Remembrance” as a free download. The song subtly addresses the current political moment by focusing on international elections and global events throughout the Seventies and Eighties, including Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election, the end of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in Spain and the Cold War.
“It’s election time but I couldn’t get my head around modern politics,” says the singer-songwriter in a statement on his website. “Perhaps history holds a lesson or two.”
Performing with just an acoustic guitar and harmonica, McMurtry transforms the story of a cruise ship cover band “butchering Elton and Styx” into an elegant allegory about power, fascism and democracy, pointedly sprinkling in excerpts of Spanish throughout the narrative. Listen to it below.
“Remembrance” is one of the most directly political songs McMurtry has released since “We Can’t Make It Here,” a class-conscious screed against George Bush and the Iraq War released shortly before the 2004 election.
“This election is not about personalities,” writes McMurtry. “It is about how we will legally interpret our constitution for at least the next generation. People will live or die as a result of this election. Therefore, to cast a ‘protest vote’ for a third party candidate, or any candidate, is an immoral act at this time in history. We must vote for the future we want to see, corny as that may sound, it’s no bullshit.”