Song of the Day: “If a Song Could Be President”

As our U.S. readers go to the polls, listen to one of the more hopeful songs about presidents, “If a Song Could Be President.”  The Ohio band Over the Rhine featured the song on their album, The Trumpet Child (2007).

Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist of Over the Rhine were inspired to write “If a Song Could Be President” after receiving an invitation to visit the White House in 2005.  The band accepted the invitation even though they disagreed with policies of President George W. Bush’s administration.

But, as they later wrote on Huffington Post, “we soon realized that what was so often missing from the current political climate in America were opportunities for folks who might have differing ideas to sit down face to face and actually engage in real conversation.”

Detweiler and Bergquist came away from the White House visit thinking about how “American music is one of the last remaining communal enterprises in this country. Music and songwriting still have the potential to bring incredibly diverse people together.”

They took the experience and put together a song that brought together a beautiful mix of American music.  They came up with a dream wondering what it would be like if a song could be president. Check out “If a Song Could Be President.”

If a song could be president,
We’d fly a jukebox to the moon;
All our founding fathers’ 45’s,
Lightnin’ Hopkins and Patsy Cline,
If a song could be president.

Happy election day.

Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Here’s a Little New Year’s Song

    The Ohio-based band Over the Rhine and lead singer Karin Bergquist capture the happiness and sadness in the beginning of a new year with their “New Year’s Song.” In the lyrics, Bergquist reminds us, “Our future’s bright, the past is checkered.” The song appeared as the closing track on the band’s 2014 holiday album Blood Oranges in the Snow.

    Over the Rhine was formed by Bergquist and her husband, pianist/guitarist/bassist Linford Detweiler. Check out their “New Year’s Song,” and have a happy and safe new year.

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Snow Angels (Missed Movies)

    When one considers that much of the U.S. has snow on the ground for a significant part of the year, it is somewhat surprising that so few movies are placed in that setting. There are the Christmas movies.  But where are the movies set in the frigid and dreary months of January and February?

    Perhaps because I grew up in the snow and later lived part of my life in areas without snow, I especially enjoy a good snow movie. And there are some excellent movies set in the snow such as the sad The Sweet Hereafter (1997).  There’s also Paul Newman’s fine performance in Nobody’s Fool (1994).  Murder sagas also seem to work well in the snow, as shown by Fargo (1996) and Insomnia (2002).

    Snow Angels
    photo: Adam Colton (licensed for reuse)

    One of my favorite snow movies, though, is Snow Angels (2006).  The film is set in a 1970s small town in Pennsylvania.  The time of year is during the weeks when snow stays on the ground but it seems too cold for more snowflakes.

    In the opening scene of Snow Angels, a marching band practices as their director tries to inspire them.  The students suddenly hear gun shots in the distance. The screen goes dark and we jump to “weeks earlier.” So we know from the start that somehow at least one person is heading toward a tragedy.

    There are tragic turns in the movie, but I will not ruin the film. The movie focuses on two families. In one, Annie (Kate Beckinsale) and Glenn (Sam Rockwell) are separated spouses struggling with the failure of their marriage while trying to take care of their young daughter.

    Annie works with and used to babysit for teenager Arthur (Michael Angaro).  And the other family focus is Arthur’s family. While Arthur is developing a relationship with a new girl at school, his parents are separating.

    The acting in Snow Angels is superb and believable. Sam Rockwell may not immediately come to your mind when listing the top actors today, but he continues to make his every movie worth watching. Here, as the troubled Glenn, he is outstanding.  He makes viewers sympathize with someone they probably would not want to be around in real life.

    I had seen Snow Angels several years ago.  So I watched it again before writing this entry. I enjoyed the movie the second time too, although it may not be a movie you will want to watch repeatedly.  Although there is a great deal of sadness in the movie, one may also find a little hope toward the end.

    The movie is based on the book Snow Angels by Stewart O’Nan. Apparently the book included someone making a literal snow angel, while the movie does not. Still, the title suits the movie in a number of ways.  “Snow Angels” may refer to real angels or to the cold emotions and isolation faced by many of the characters.

    If you are looking for a light comedy or uplifting story for this weekend, you should look elsewhere. But if you are in the mood for an intense drama that keeps you enthralled, you may like Snow Angels.

    The trailer gives away too much of the movie.  So, you are better off not seeing the trailer before seeing the movie. But if you want to know more before deciding whether to watch the film, the trailer for Snow Angels is here.

    “Snow Angel” the Song

    Instead of the trailer I will introduce you to an excellent band from Ohio called Over the Rhine.  The band consists of the husband and wife team of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist.

    Below is a fan recording of their live performance of their beautiful song, “Snow Angel.” The song is not related to the movie of the similar name. The singular “Snow Angel” is off their album of the plural Snow Angels (2008).

    In the song, the singer tells of saying goodbye to her “one and only love” who goes off to war (“The rumors of a distant war / Called my true love’s name”). But the man is killed during the war, leaving the singer heartbroken (“Snow angel, snow angel / Someday I’m gonna fly / This cold and broken heart of mine / Will one day wave goodbye”).

    Like the movie Snow Angels, the song “Snow Angel” captures something about the pain and loneliness of winter.  It also reminds us to enjoy our days of warmer weather.

    Movies You Might Have Missed is a Chimesfreedom series to inform our readers about good movies that did not receive the attention they deserved.

    If you saw
    Snow Angels, what did you think? Any thoughts on the very last scene? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    If a Song Could Be President

    After an exciting election yesterday, congratulations to everyone who participated, including everyone who voted, all of the candidates for state offices, Gov. Mitt Romney, and Pres. Barack Obama. As the president begins his second term in office and all the elected officials begin the difficult work of governing, may we hope that all of our representatives learn a thing or two from music. Unfortunately, a song cannot be president, but what if it could? In this performance, the Ohio band Over the Rhine imagines what the world might be like.

    We’d vote for a melody,
    Pass it around on an MP3;
    All our best foreign policy,
    Would be built on harmony.

    Over the Rhine’s performance of their song “If a Song Could Be President” above is at the WUTK Radio studio where they appeared before a May 28, 2008 show in Knoxville Tennessee. I would vote for any song that imagines a better world while giving roles to John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Patsy Cline.

    (Thanks to mh for reminding me of this song.)

    What is your favorite song about politics? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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