Tony Bennett, Jackson Browne and Jim James are among the artists who have contributed to a new album, Songs for Swing Left, designed to raise awareness and promote voter turnout ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
Guitar shop owner Reuben Cox compiled the record in partnership with Swing Left, an organization that’s targeting competitive swing districts in an attempt to help Democrats retake the House of Representatives. Fans who download Songs for Swing Left, or any track off the record, will be put in touch with Swing Left volunteers in their area to learn more about what they can do to help ahead of the November 6th election.
Songs for Swing Left features over 25 tracks, with more set to be added as the election nears. Among the contributors are Tom Chapin, the National’s Matt Berninger, Kurt Vile, Benjamin Booker, Tim Heidecker, Fred Armisen (who appears in character as Ian Rubbish), Meshell Ndegeeocello, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, Inara George, and Sean and Sarah Watkins, who collaborated with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Benmont Tench. Bennett, for his part, recorded a voter encouragement message to support the project.
Along with the songs, the album also features each artist sharing a short message about the importance of voting. Andrew Bird, for instance, opens his track by saying, “We all know how important this November’s midterm elections are and how important it will be to vote. So this year, besides heading to the polls yourself, I’m asking you to help get your friends and neighbors to the polls as well.”
Cox recorded the tracks for Songs for Swing Left live in his vintage guitar shop in Los Angeles, while they were mixed and mastered by Mike Viola. Cox – who previously spearheaded a raffle for an autographed guitar to benefit Planned Parenthood – said the album was “a fun, positive and creative way to push back against the disappointments and anxiety engendered by the current political climate.”