Welcome to Boombox Blitz, an artist spotlight series showcasing overlooked singers, songwriters and musicians who are quietly taking over the world.
Some argue singers, songwriters and musicians have no business speaking out on politics. In the aftermath of the “very fine people” march in Charlottesville earlier this month, when a flurry of neo-Nazis and white supremacists stormed the college campus in revolt of the tearing down of the Robert E. Lee confederate statue, tensions have reached a fevered pitch. And people are choosing sides. You either stand with what is right ⎯⎯ the side of civil liberties, understanding why POC find such structures offensive and vowing to help shatter the system ⎯⎯ or you support such egregiously bizarre displays of white sovereignty. The moment we stay silent, we become complicit, and that’s not up for debate.
Mainstream country music has been eerily quiet, save for some sage tweets from such acts as Tim McGraw, Maren Morris and Kip Moore (among others). Alternative country acts have been conversely outspoken on the events, from comments by Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell to Kelsey Waldon, Amanda Shires and Andrew Combs. More than ever, music can be conduit for change, igniting a revolution down to our very core ⎯⎯ and now is not the time to claim you’re “staying out of politics.”
Singer/songwriter Hayes Carll, a native of Woodlands, Texas, wields his pen and platform for good, as he has teamed up with soul-pop performer LOLO for a poignant and fearsome song. Titled “Fragile Men,” the pair aim to destroy the grip of white power and inform the perpetrators about how they can end the cycle of bigotry. “Fragile men, I wish someone could hide you / I wish someone could guide you through these most difficult of days,” LOLO unravels on the opening line, grainy piano and bleeding acoustic guitar surging out saloon-style. “Fragile men, they all want to scold you / Now, there’s no one to console you when you don’t get your way.”
Accompany the song, the video of which is splashed with photos of KKK, cross-burning and nooses, LOLO writes: “A few weeks before those horrible events happened in Charlottesville, my friend Hayes Carll and I wrote a song about racism, hatred and supremacy in America. I’ve spent most of my adult life on the road seeing all kinds of cultures and people and while most of these experiences are positive, I still see and cannot turn a blind eye to things that still continue to divide us.”
She continues, “I never could have imagined though that a few weeks later Neo Nazis, KKK members and other hate groups would be filling the streets so boldly with their hatred. Jesus never put any stipulations on ‘Love Thy Neighbor’; it’s a very simple but powerful message. There will never be a time when hate, racism, bigotry, anti-semitism and supremacy are okay. We are all created equal, and I can’t believe we’re still having to protest these things.
“The whole world is exploding, and I know it feels so strange,” LOLO then wails on the chorus, plastered with images of peaceful counter-protests. “It must make you so damn angry / They’re expecting you to change…”