This double album is a fundraiser for my possible independent write-in campaign for the US presidency. If I get enough support, I'll run.
The first album, When I'm Elected President (the one you see on the screen in front of you), is a collection of 12 songs I wrote between July and November, 2014. You can stream the album for free, or download it for a donation of $5+.
Only if you download (as opposed to stream) the album, you'll find 10 bonus tracks -- an album in itself. That is Wayfaring Stranger, an album made up of some of my favorite songs written by other people.
Subscribers get downloads of all of my stuff for free -- go to davidrovics.com
and click the "subscribe" button!
Liner notes for Wayfaring Stranger:
Who's the Criminal Here?
There are many contemporary songwriters writing brilliant stuff, whose songs I could have covered on this album. Two of my favorites are Jim Page of Seattle and Robb Johnson from England. I feel like I have nothing to add in terms of interpreting their songs. This song by Ted Warmbrand, though, is so haunting in its simplicity, and I felt like I had a somewhat different way of interpreting it that was worth putting out there. The effect on the guitar was Billy Oskay's idea, as with the effects on all of these songs, and really contributes a lot, I think.
One of the most hauntingly beautiful gospel songs ever to come out of Appalachia, that I fell in love with a long time ago.
I believe I first heard this WWII-era Italian anti-fascist song during my first extended trip to Germany, hanging around the German left in Hamburg and elsewhere. The best version of it, in my opinion, would have to be the well-known leftwing Italian band, the Modena City Ramblers. But I had to do it, too. Apologies for my awful Italian.
I liked Leonard Cohen's earlier stuff OK, but when he recorded the albums I'm Your Man and the Future, he was in his prime as a songwriter. "Hallelujah" is one of many brilliant songs he wrote, and has the sort of melody that is just such a pleasure to sing.
The Workers' Song
The great Scottish musician, Dick Gaughan, recorded this song, and rendered it brilliantly, along with many other songs by little-known writers. This was one of my favorites I learned from listening to his recordings. It was also through Dick Gaughan that I first consciously discovered the glory of open tunings, though it wasn't until many years later that I started doing most everything in DADGAD myself.
We Have Fed You All for A Thousand Years
Through the recordings and concerts of Utah Phillips, I first discovered the music of the IWW, back in the 80's. Utah was a great songwriter himself, but also gave new life to old IWW songs like this one, from around 1917 I believe.
Ralph Chaplin was not only chairman of the Industrial Workers of the World, but also a talented songwriter. This lyric of his, based on a well-known melody, became the most well-known song of the US labor movement for many decades.
I remember the first time I heard Silvio Rodriguez. It was on a record in a Mexican woman's house in Olympia, Washington. I don't remember her name offhand, but I sure remember the music, the voice, the melodies, and the woman's passionate efforts to translate Silvio's poetic lyrics so I could understand this music that had so deeply affected the lives of millions of people throughout the Spanish-speaking world. I fell in love with his music from then on, and this song always stuck with me in particular.
Lakes of Pontchartrain
I first heard this gorgeous love song from Jim Page singing it in a show in Seattle back in the 80's. Much later I heard Paul Brady and Andy Irvine doing the song, and I figured out a nice DADGAD version of the song based on their version of this old song of unknown origin, thought to be from somewhere in the southern United States.
When I'm Gone
In my twenties I learned most of the songs Phil Ochs ever wrote, and sang many of them in the Boston subways for passersby as a professional busker. I could happily do a whole album of Phil Ochs songs. But I figured if I were to just include one, this would it.