The Traverse City alt-folk trio unleashed ‘Heavy Flag’ and five other new songs during a live-stream session at Grand Rapids’ River City Studios Thursday, as they prepare to join a ‘get out the vote’ tour. Get the back story, watch the in-studio set.
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Some sentiments and convictions simply can’t be contained.
Savannah Buist, Katie Larson and Michael Dause of Traverse City’s The Accidentals felt so strongly about the state of things politically and societally that they felt compelled to release a new “call to action” single prior to the pivotal, upcoming Nov. 6 elections.
Inspired by the iconic photo of soldiers raising a U.S. flag at Iwo Jima in World War II, Buist wrote “Heavy Flag” as a reflection of that “powerful statement” – a song exploring the “weight and responsibility of our generation to care for our resources” and “the power of humanity to affect change.”
That means encouraging citizens to get out there and vote.
“It’s just an amazing photograph to look at because you can tell there’s so much physical and psychological weight to that flag. I think that weight mirrors what we experience day to day right now – the responsibility to take care of our resources and to take care each other,” Buist said.
“I wanted to write a song about the power of critical thinking and the power of using your voices to affect change. I can’t think of a better place for that song to sit than right before the mid-terms (elections) because our voices are important. They’re healthy to Democracy. One way or another we all have to vote and so that’s why this song needed to come out when it did.”
With the new single set for release on Nov. 2, four days before the mid-term elections, The Accidentals delivered a live rendition of that compelling song and five other new tunes during an early evening edition of HopCat presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios session for a small audience of about a dozen people on Wednesday in Grand Rapids.
JOINING CLEAN WATER CAMPAIGN’S ‘GET OUT THE VOTE’ TOUR
Live-streamed on the Local Spins, HopCat and River City Studios Facebook pages, the video racked up more than 5,500 views in less than 12 hours. Watch it below.
Wednesday’s session comes as The Accidentals prepare to join Earthwork Music collective founder Seth Bernard and others on a “get out the vote” tour hosted by the Clean Water Campaign for Michigan. Bernard performs with the Patrick Booth Ensemble at Ore Dock Brewing in Marquette on Nov. 1, and with The Accidentals and Kate Pillsbury and Emilee Petersmark of The Crane Wives at Short’s Brewing in Bellaire on Nov. 2.
The Accidentals and Bernard also plan a “pop-up concert” with Charlie Millard at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in Traverse City (with the location still to be announced), with additional shows on Nov. 4 at Beards Brewing in Petoskey and Nov. 5 at Third Man Records in Detroit.
While the mix of music and political or societal issues can turn off some fans, The Accidentals insisted their new song doesn’t take sides, just encourages involvement.
“The message we’re trying to put out there with ‘Heavy Flag’ is not a divisive message,” insisted Larson. “Our goal is for everyone to become more aware, more informed and participate. It’s something that we care about really strongly through this election and past it, and we want to make sure people get that message.”
RECORDING A NEW ALBUM AND TOURING OVERSEAS IN 2019
Added Buist: “It’s also consistent with what we’ve been in the past. We’ve always been interested in youth education … and protecting the environment. These are non-partisan issues. These are issues that everybody can get behind … I think encouraging people to use their voices in the vote and encouraging them to be paying attention to those particular issues, there’s not much of a risk there.”
Buist conceded the song and get-out-the-vote campaign are also targeting young voters.
“I think it’s really important for young people to get behind the vote regardless of what they vote,” she said. “Their voices are the ones that are going to be heard next. The future is now. It’s definitely an attempt to reach people our age in whatever way we can. … Our voices are important and … they’re healthy to Democracy and that’s why this song needed to come out when it did.”
The single comes after the band laid down four new tracks for an upcoming new album with Grammy Award-winning producer John Congleton (The Decemberists, Lana Del Ray), with hopes of releasing it in 2019.
The band also announced it has signed with a European booking agent and will be heading overseas for The Accidentals’ first European tour in May.
Get more information about the Clean Water Campaign tour online here.
VIDEO: The Accidentals
HopCat presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios (10/24/18)
PHOTO GALLERY: The Accidentals at River City Studios
Photos by Anna Sink
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