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.
In 1957, Tex Ritter’s Ranch Party television show featured a number of guests, including a young Johnny Cash playing his new hit song “I Walk the Line.” Also, Ritter introduced another young artist, Patsy Cline, who was born on September 8, 1932 as Virginia Patterson Hensley in Gore, Virginia. Here, Ritter introduces her as “a little lady that great things have been happening to here in the past year or so.”
So, go back to the 1950s and remember from before Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash became legends. The show featured several other talented country and rockabilly artists too. Check it out.
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.