Music has power. To touch us deeply with empathy and compassion. To create a vision or a dream through imagination. Sometimes music shakes us up, changes our view, roots in our minds, moves us to action.
Music has done that for my life. I know many of the folk and rock songs I grew up with influenced the paths I chose later in life. As an adolescent I would spend hours in our living room playing the albums of Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul and Mary. Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” was already part of my lexicon when I took my first women’s studies class in college. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” was there during all the anti-war protests of my twenties.
All of this music’s appeal was not just the calling out of injustices but the offering of love over hate, harmony rather than animosity. Peace over hostilities.
You could say those songs and many others led me to my work, my writing, how I’ve raised my boys. The first protest song of their young lives at 8 and 11 was Green Day’s American Idiot. Quite different from the ones I was raised on, but impactful on them and their generation.
Two years ago, I was inspired by a young LA artist, Milck, whose song “Quiet” became widely known at the 2017 Women’s March. The lyrics “I can’t keep quiet, for anyone, anymore,” are eloquent in their simplicity. And made more so by the beauty of Milck’s voice.
I could go on, naming artists, musicians, writers who didn’t keep quiet. But I want to introduce you to a new songwriter whose personal journey inspires me to keep writing and keep believing in myself.
My friend Mary Lou Fulton and I have been singing with a women’s chorus for a number of years. One day in August, she invited me to listen to a song she’d written and recorded. I felt an immediate kinship with the ideas she’d found words to express. I knew her song had to be shared. Had to be out in the world.
Months in the making, there is now sheet music and a score for choirs to sing. There’s a music video and website to spread the word. Mary Lou’s soulful voice and searing lyrics have a powerful message. It’s a new protest song for a time in history that needs to hear it, needs to live it.
Let this song connect with your heart, give you courage, call you to action. Share it. Chant it. Sing it. Join Mary Lou, join me, in singing “We’re not Going Back.”