Louder Than Weapons – The Task with Audie Cornish


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I did not assume we would be doing one other episode a couple of mass taking pictures so quickly. However right here we’re.

Mayor John Cooper


As a neighborhood.

That is from a vigil in Nashville.

Mayor John Cooper


Thanks to our artists for sharing the present of music. You’re the custodians of that particular present.

I have been to this place, and I do not imply some type of memorial after a mass taking pictures, however Nashville particularly. I lived there for a couple of years protecting the South, and it is not an enormous metropolis. It is dominant industries of music and publishing could make it really feel even smaller, like everybody is aware of everybody. So when First Woman Jill Biden visited the town to attend a vigil for the taking pictures victims of the Covenant Faculty, it was an absolute given {that a} nation music artist could be there.

Will the circle be unbroken?

By and by, Lord, by and by.

That is Ketch Secor, founding member of the Grammy Award successful band Outdated Crow Medication Present. I did not even get an introduction on the vigil, however that is as a result of everybody within the crowd already is aware of who he’s, not only a well-known musician, however a member of their neighborhood and a father or mother of two college aged youngsters. In actual fact, the college his youngsters attend in East Nashville, he co-founded it in 2016. It is referred to as the Episcopal Faculty of Nashville.

So I am sporting two completely different hats right here when a college taking pictures occurs in our city. It is each as a father or mother and it is as anyone who’s on the opposite aspect of the choose up line as effectively. When a rustic singer will get off the street, likelihood is at 8:00 within the morning on Monday after the massive weekend, that man or gal is in line dropping their child off at a college in Nashville, Tennessee. With regards to your own home, it is completely different.

And the sky lowered within the sky.

Ketch Secor not too long ago wrote an op ed for The New York Instances that caught our consideration. It was titled Nation Music Can Lead America Out of its Obsession with Weapons. In it, he requires nation musicians to talk candidly to their audiences about gun tradition. I wished to have him on the present to speak about that op ed, like, can nation music actually assist lead the U.S. out of a gun debate? And what are the stakes for a musician within the style if they really take a stand? And what’s it prefer to dwell on the heart of all of it as a father or mother, educator and musician in Nashville, Tennessee? That is the task. I am Audie Cornish.

The taking pictures on the Covenant Faculty type of prompted you to write down an op ed for The New York Instances. However can you are taking me again to that day just a little bit? The place had been you while you heard it occurring?

Certain it was on Monday, two weeks in the past, and it was at 10:13 within the morning. I acquired a textual content message from our college legal professional saying, I am so sorry, and I had no thought what was happening. And prayer hand emoji is attention-grabbing.

So getting an emoji like that or getting the compulsory “are you okay” that all of us begin to ship one another now when there is a taking pictures, particularly at a college, you are saying it it hits you in a spot of what? Panic. Concern. What? What do you’re feeling?

It is. It is all of the above. It is. It is your youngsters. It is another person’s youngsters. You already know, the pinnacle of faculty was murdered. The connections between our college are very current, and it is as a neighborhood member in Nashville, this surprising realization. Oh, this factor that occurs in different cities has come to our city. And it is come not simply to our city, however to our kids, to our the place that’s most sacred.

And even to your nook of that world, Proper? Prefer it did not occur at a public college. It did not occur at an enormous college. It occurred at basically a small Christian major college. Proper. Which is what you what you based one, proper? It had connections.

Yeah. And our colleges are very completely different in that regard and serve completely different populations. Nonetheless, it you understand, we’re all the identical. We’re all each college, public, personal, constitution, each stripe is within the enterprise of believing that children are our future and should be stewarded and cherished on and guided. And, you understand, that is an actual elemental precept for me.

Can I ask, how outdated are your youngsters and do they go to the college you based?

Yeah, they do. And so they’re 9 and 11.

So did the college you based this Episcopal college, did it go into lockdown? Type of what what did you you all must do consequently?

No, the colleges adjoining to Covenant did, however the others in Nashville didn’t. And so the factor I feel that was so unhappy that first day was the message that went out saying your youngsters haven’t but been notified. The employees is aware of, the academics know, everyone is aware of, all of the dad and mom know, everyone is aware of however the youngsters. And we’ll discuss it tomorrow. However we wished to provide the likelihood to speak about it first. So for those who can think about a choose up line, anyone who’s who’s been via a college taking pictures of their neighborhood is aware of, you understand, the choose up line that first day is stuffed with tears.

Proper. And for individuals who aren’t aware of how huge ups and drop offs work today in colleges, there’s a line proper, the place like there are type of they’re chaperoning your child the actually to the curb and also you choose them up. There’s not similar to wandering out of the constructing the place I feel for those who had been a child within the nineties is what you grew up with. Yeah, it is hand handy move off.

That is proper, Audie. You could have youngsters.

Nicely, the juxtaposition of children filled with vibrant pleasure and life and fogeys filled with grief and disappointment coming collectively. This assembly to me was very highly effective.

That means you are standing on the curb ready to get your child. However each father or mother’s face is simply drawn.

And each father or mother is each trainer and simply, you understand, holding again tears as is each trainer. However each baby continues to really feel very secure. And but everyone knows as dad and mom that no baby is secure any longer as a result of this tragedy is in our yard. It is come to Nashville, it is come to us, to our youngsters.

I suppose I wish to begin possibly with Wagon Wheel, as a result of if folks go to look you up, that is likely to be the primary tune they find out about. And also you even write about it on this op ed. Inform me just a little bit about the place you had been in your profession while you wrote this.

Certain. Nicely, Wagon Wheel is my most profitable tune.

Headed down South to the Land of the Pines. I am coming my approach to North Carolina, staring up.

And it is a collaboration with Bob Dylan. I wrote it after I was about 17, going to high school up in New England in a prep college referred to as Exeter, and I used to be had simply realized to play the banjo up there.

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel. Rock me mama, any manner you’re feeling. Hey mama rock me

You discuss the concept your greatest identified tune, Wagon Wheel, is usually blasting out of a truck, so to talk, that has an NRA sticker. And also you point out this particularly, and I need you to speak about why.

Once you make the type of music that I make with a fiddle and a banjo and concord singing and a selected model of songwriting, you are participating in a neighborhood that is likely to be completely different than your individual type of background, and it is not. Nicely, there is a practice going by proper now. That is type of proof..

I bear in mind the practice. Yeah.

The trains are all the time going by in Nashville.

Simply acquired to maintain it happening the podcast. It’s going to add just a little little bit of coloration and speaks to what I am speaking about. You already know, the trains are going by. The vans have NRA stickers. You already know, after I was a child, there have been Accomplice flags in all places. That is The South, y’all. It is completely different than the opposite components of the nation now, for higher or for worse. However it’s what it’s.

And while you’re round Nashville and you’ve got political conversations, wherever the particular person falls on the spectrum, inevitably somebody makes use of that phrase, Nicely, that is The South.

Like, that is purported to cowl a whole lot of issues.

Yeah. And whether or not it is purported to be that manner or, you understand, I feel we’re in a state of appreciable development down south, however the vestiges stay, and so they’re necessary to speak about on this regard, as a result of one of many vestiges is gun tradition, and it is largely thought-about just like the insurgent flag previously, simply one thing that exists right here. Cope with it, y’all. When the truth is, we’ve got all the time had the ability to drop the insurgent flag. There’s one vestige that has been challenged successfully.

And effected change in a method, or a minimum of elevate the type of societal stakes participating in sure language.

Completely. And so I see the change in gun tradition is rather like one other step in direction of The South’s evolution.

To my thoughts, nation, Americana, these genres so intently align with their audiences. It’s extremely very similar to hip-hop, like folks in hip-hop speak concerning the tradition and their ties to the music, and the music ties to fairly actually the identification of the folks listening. And nation feels very a lot the identical manner. However consequently, it has a whole lot of like guidelines. You already know, there is a couple traces you they folks do not such as you to step out of. Are you able to discuss how that performs out in trendy nation?

Certain. Nicely, right now’s nation singer may not come from The South and is school educated. So that they are in has already modified the stereotype of who sings nation music. You already know, it is it is not coal miners anymore. The coal miner’s daughter like all of us love Loretta, however that is not who’s on primary proper now. In order that a part of it has modified quite a bit. However what hasn’t modified a lot are the attitudes of the viewers.

Which to be clear. The nation music viewers is also wealthier and are determination makers and our usually managers, there’s been type of like a whole lot of analysis into many people who find themselves within the viewers, and the viewers in all probability appears to be like just a little completely different than folks count on as effectively.

Nicely, I did not know to enter this, however however I am excited that we’re, Audie, as a result of, you understand, nation music actually particularly, and to make clear, up to date nation music on the radio is an actual secure area for us to not discuss political divisiveness and never discuss issues of of substance. However as a substitute we’re all type of studying the Pulp Fiction collectively. And it is it is

Which is why it is common, proper? I imply, in the course of the pandemic, I heard the expansion of listening to the music or streaming possibly was up 15%. It was increased than another style.

Folks welcome that secure area.

Journey story. It is you understand, it’s totally a lot tales, intergenerational household tales. That is the type of stuff that goes primary is the tune about grandpa and what a very good man he was and the way if we might be just a little bit extra like him, then the world could be a greater place. So this type of, you understand, hallmark type of these beliefs which can be tossed round may not be that real looking for right now’s actuality of, you understand, I labored I am a part of a worldwide economic system working two jobs. And, you understand, I am hoping my youngsters are going to go get out of state tuition or no matter. And but we nation music actually offers in nostalgia. And that nostalgia is a an necessary antidote to the entire ache that one can witness within the click on of a mouse.

Proper. So how does gun. Tradition work together with that nostalgia, storytelling, since you’re saying in a manner that that is constructed into the music, too.

Johnny Money singing I Shot a Man in Reno to Watch Him Die. Hank Jr Singing about. Yeah, I might prefer to spit some seashore nut in that dude’s eye and shoot him with my outdated 45 as a result of a rustic boy can survive. It is a approach to for nation music to retain authority in a altering world. And guns–

However do you hear it within the trendy music? Are there? You do not have to pick any artist. However do folks nonetheless discuss that?

No, Audie. And that is the factor. We do not discuss weapons. If we do, it is a tune about I took my boy looking for the primary time. It is once more, dealing within the nostalgia. What it is not saying is I’ve acquired an AR-15 in my assortment. However the actuality is that many, many listeners do. And but it is a secure area the place they aren’t confronted by the music to a altering actuality. As an alternative, they’re allowed to say, I taught my baby find out how to, you understand, I imply, after I was a child within the eighties, like I went hen hunt with Dad, I realized find out how to hearth a weapon. I realized find out how to clear a weapon. This stuff are necessary to the ways in which gun tradition is usually a constructive, however the secure area is that we’re not speaking about what it means in right now’s America. As an alternative, we’re just about hanging in yesterday’s.

So what’s it like for artists corresponding to your self to boost this problem?

Folks preserve saying, thanks for being courageous. And I am like. You already know who’s courageous is the child that pulled the hearth alarm, you understand, within the hallway below gunfire in our city in a college, a child that was a 3rd grader. Now, that is courageous. All I am doing is simply I am a singer and I will sing concerning the stuff that is actual. I am a author, and I will inform what I see.

I do not wish to learn an excessive amount of into the zoom, however I. Are you getting emotional speaking about that?

Oh, yeah. I imply, I have been I have been crying for 2 weeks, ya’ll, prefer it’s… When this involves your city and so they bury the identical age child as yours. After which after which, like, whereas the graves are nonetheless recent, the information cycle strikes on to Stormy Daniels, and that is the fact. It is like, Good God, the place can we dwell? What can we not care about youngsters in any respect? It is simply over. So that is my manner of claiming it is not over and it will not be over till these deaths, these three deaths of American youngsters gunned down within the third grade, till they imply one thing, that is when it will be over.

Extra with Ketch Secor in only a second.

You’re demanding a brand new type of motion come out of the south. And that it partially be led by people who find themselves cultural figures as effectively, not simply politicians, folks corresponding to your self. Why do you assume it might make a distinction?

Nicely, I feel that Nashville stands uniquely poised to steer a response to the college taking pictures epidemic.

However why do you assume that? Proper? We simply watched the Tennessee State Home expel two members as a result of that they had a protest associated to gun coverage. Expel, not censure, not reprimand. Attempt to kick them out. So what what to your thoughts leads you to assume that?

Nicely, Nashville, even if the state legislature is what it’s, Nashville is a really progressive metropolis. And I am not saying that Tennessee goes to prepared the ground. I am saying Nashville.

Yeah, however is not that the powerful half? If in all these states and it is not simply Tennessee, you’ve got acquired these blue cities, these little blue dots in a sea of purple, and by purple I imply very conservative, very pro-gun, pro-Second Modification legislatures. This feels like an uphill battle. What you are calling for.

And I do know it is value it. I do not wish to as a result of everyone knows it is value it. However I need I wish to perceive why you assume nation musicians are in any manner uniquely positioned to have this dialog.

Nicely, and I wish to I admire you difficult this Audie. Very first thing I wish to say is that altering segregation was an uphill battle in Tennessee. And and when Nashville within the early Nineteen Sixties, within the late Nineteen Fifties mentioned its first foot ahead, this was the proving floor, different components of the South had been too unsafe. However folks gathered in Nashville, a metropolis of faculties, a metropolis of progressive thought within the South to have interaction in nonviolent civil disobedience. That is the place John Lewis got here. That is the place the Freedom Riders first cease was.

Their trainings, proper, with James Lawson and at Vanderbilt.

All of that coaching at Fisk and Vanderbilt occurred proper right here in Nashville, Tennessee. That reveals our capability as a as a neighborhood to exist exterior of the state. Now, similar to in that point, the state legislator mentioned, what are you speaking about? That is not going to occur in our state. We solid the deciding vote on on girls’s suffrage. I imply, Tennessee has been a bellwether place in these two different situations of nice significance. That is the third. That is the a part of the loss of life knell of the outdated South, which goes to have to alter. You already know, 50 years from now I feel we’ll be wanting again at these couple of years because the deciding time for a assault weapons ban in america.

Once more, I wish to convey it to the query about nation music artists, particularly mainstream ones who given what we all know concerning the music, primary, have been socially punished for activism by what we name Music Row, by music radio, by nation music radio specifically, which nonetheless has a really type of sturdy grip in a manner programmers do, and even current historical past. Proper. When you concentrate on the Dixie Chicks, and many others., their entire story is a narrative of being ostracized for his or her activism.

You already know, for a man like me, I am not beholden to too many individuals in any respect, however I am not a mainstream. I am not on the Jumbotron, you understand, I am not on the awards present with the highest ten performers of the yr.

Do you want these folks for the motion you are speaking about?

They’ve a extremely far attain and the ability to speed up an inevitable motion to alter this for our youngsters. And I am asking them via this piece and in addition head to head in my neighborhood, via conversations of textual content. You already know, I’ve reached out to so many singers previously two weeks.

And how much textual content you ship.

Hey, I am simply reaching out to all my Nashville music neighborhood within the wake of the taking pictures and sharing this story that I wrote that got here out right now in The Instances. In case you get a sec, please have a look.

What’s been probably the most constructive response? What’s been probably the most irritating one?

Essentially the most irritating one is silence. I say within the op ed piece that I feel silence is complicity. I went into the studio and I and I recorded a brand new tune on the topic. For the reason that taking pictures, which is simply two weeks in the past there have been so some ways to be engaged with this horrible story, and it is highly effective answer.

I imply, the rationale why I am asking is as a result of your op ed mentioned one thing fairly particular, proper? That there are artists who’re drained at being on the type of mercy of the whims of fearmongers, you mentioned, and that they are prepared to talk to an impressionable viewers. And since different genres, like we talked about hip hop earlier or pop, they do wade into societal points. They are often confrontational about politics. It is not like there is not a mannequin on the market. So I suppose what would it not take, do you assume, for folks in your business? To begin to do one thing related, which is which is, in impact, what you are calling for.

It’s starting and it is, I feel, in its infancy, nevertheless it’s already began.

And so it is about fanning the flames and constructing an enormous bonfire out of what is already crackling kindling. For instance, we have got a profit live performance right here in Nashville that helps Covenant Faculty. And while you have a look at the the roster, who’s on the marquee, it is not the same old Americana of us who all the time say, you understand, we stand with youngsters, we get up in opposition to gun violence. As an alternative, it is primary chart toppers. They’re there. They’ve put their hat into the ring.

However is it as a result of it is is it going to be a secure area from politics? If it is a second of a memorial, is that what makes it okay for an enormous artist to be there? Proper. As a result of no person’s going to rise up and say we should always have gun management.

There’s nothing however up right here as a result of we we’ve got began on the very baseline the place music popping out of Nashville on the radio says nothing about violence in opposition to youngsters in our colleges or about the necessity to rethink the sorts of weaponry that’s related to the Second Modification. Kelsea Ballerini talked about it on an award present. These are the sorts of issues that when anyone takes one step and the motion can rapidly comply with it, then the subsequent step is not as arduous to make. And what I am asking for is that subsequent step. You already know, I’ve gotten a whole lot of suggestions from my viewers. And like I say in an op ed piece, you understand, I see the NRA sticker on the again of lot of vans blaring in my tunes. So, you understand, and we’re out on the street with Hank Jr. this summer time. So, I imply, I am I am used to enjoying to an viewers that’s our nation folks. However I really like my nation folks viewers. And I and I need to have the ability to be actual with them. I can transfer freely in each of the areas that the 2 huge silos within the nation. Like, I’d go to work in a single silo and are available house and the opposite one. And I am good with that as a result of I really like these folks.

What’s your message to these artists who’re simply nonetheless very reluctant?

Nation music has an excellent future in these instances to swing out previous the fences which have corralled it in so tightly. That I consider on this style. And I consider that it has the ability to hold that reality. You already know, it’s totally a lot rooted in a gospel custom of of the lamentation, the calling out to the nice spirits. Assist us, Lord. We’re simply your youngsters. We do not know shit. We’re we’re dying down right here. Assist!

Are you able to speak concerning the tune that you have written out of this second?

New materials? You already know, typically, similar to I am in a songwriting temper right here, I am in a a second in time with a whole lot of completely different alternatives as a author to have interaction on this, whether or not it is, you understand, writing the correct caption for {a photograph} on Instagram or writing an op ed piece for The New York Instances or being on this podcast with you, Audie. There’s so some ways to decide on my phrases proper now and try to have them be resonant for the ache that we’re feeling in Nashville, Tennessee and across the nation as a result of we’re simply so drained, dad and mom, that our youngsters usually are not secure of their colleges. What which means for me as a songwriter is that I even have the prospect to write down new music about this and to place my cash the place my mouth is. So I acquired a brand new tune that is popping out referred to as Louder Than Weapons. That is yeah, I simply recorded it two days in the past.

Give me a way of the tune or lyrics.

Nicely, gosh, I really feel like I should not even introduced it up as a result of it is so…anytime you get a you understand, persons are cagey about their new stuff!

You are coping with a dude that wept via the entire songwriting course of. Let me sing it for you.

All proper. awakened this morning. It was Groundhog Day. I noticed the identical black veil on a crying face and a flag flying half manner. This time it was folks I do know gunned down in a minute or so. Solely God is aware of when it will cease. However ideas and prayers ain’t sufficient. Louder than weapons. Extra highly effective than bullets flying. Is the voice rising up saying it is about time to place the final nail within the coffin, put the final physique within the floor, calling on each city, shout. Louder than weapons There is a regulation on a dusty scroll.

Ketch Secor is the daddy of two youngsters in Nashville, Tennessee. He is additionally a singer, songwriter and founding member of the band Outdated Crow Medication Present.

Now The Task is a manufacturing of CNN Audio. Our producers are Madeleine Thompson,Jennifer Lai, Lori Galarreta, Carla Javier, and Dan Bloom. Our affiliate producers are Isoke Samuel and Allison Park. Our senior producers are Matt Martinez and Haley Thomas. Dan Dzula is our technical director. Steve Lickteig is our government producer. Particular because of Katie Hinman. I am Audie Cornish and thanks for listening.

I am the louder than weapons. oooooo. Louder than weapons. I do not wish to get up on one other Groundhog Day. No, I do not wish to hear one other rat a tat tat tat echoed down the hallway. Freedom’s simply one other phrase for letting each voice be heard, each coronary heart, each hand. Each city take a stand. Louder than weapons. Extra highly effective than bullets flying. Is the voice rising up, saying it is about rattling time. We put the final nail within the coffin. We put the final physique within the floor. I am calling on each city. Louder than weapons.

Sending that one out to Louisville right now.

Ketch, thanks a lot for sharing that with us.

Yeah, we acquired. We acquired to. We acquired to do it, y’all.


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