Genre-hopping guitarist Marc Ribot recruited singer-songwriter Steve Earle to front his moving tribute song “Srinivas,” the first sample of a new album of anti-Trump material, Goodbye Beautiful/Songs of Resistance 1942-2018, out September 14th via ANTI- Records. Tom Waits, Meshell Ndegeocello, Justin Vivian Bond, Fay Victor and Sam Amidon will also appear on the LP, among others.
Earle condemns President Trump on the mournful yet uplifting “Srinivas,” which Ribot wrote after reading about the February 2017 murder of two Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, in Kansas. “Madman pulled the trigger; Donald Trump loaded the gun,” the singer belts over a strummed acoustic guitar. “My country ’tis of thee.” The track slowly crescendos with drums and waves of post-punk guitar feedback.
In a statement about the song, Ribot – best known for his collaborations with Waits, Elvis Costello and John Zorn, along with his own band Ceramic Dog – credited Earle with transforming “Srinivas” into a finished piece.
“Steve Earle is a great singer and a no-bullshit human being,” he said. “The song lyric was mostly just strung together sentences from newspaper articles about the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, but Steve brought them to life, and made them breathe. We’d never played music together before although we had some friends in common – Buddy Miller and Dennis Crouch, who’ve played in Steve’s band, and, as it turned out, Tony Garnier, who played bass on ‘Srinivas.’ But Steve got it immediately, and made it his own, changing some lyrics where he needed to…I’m grateful that Steve showed up and did such a great job.”
Goodbye Beautiful/Songs of Resistance 1942-2018 blends original material with Mexican protest songs and others from the U.S. civil rights movement and the World War II-era, anti-Fascist Italian movement. Ribot began working on the project at the end of 2016, documenting his feelings about the American election and wider political trends.
“I am alarmed by Trump and the movement he’s part of,” he said in a statement. “I’ve spent a good chunk of my life running around the world on tour – I’m kind of an accidental internationalist – and I see that he’s not an isolated phenomenon. And if we don’t deal with what is going on, it is going to deal with us.”