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HomeNewsLouder Than Weapons - The Task with Audie Cornish

Louder Than Weapons – The Task with Audie Cornish


I did not assume we might be doing one other episode a few mass capturing so quickly. However right here we’re.

Mayor John Cooper


As a group.

That is from a vigil in Nashville.

Mayor John Cooper


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

I have been to this place, and I do not imply some type of memorial after a mass capturing, however Nashville particularly. I lived there for just a few years masking the South, and it isn’t 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 Girl Jill Biden visited town to attend a vigil for the capturing victims of the Covenant Faculty, it was an absolute given {that a} nation music artist can be there.

Will the circle be unbroken?

By and by, Lord, by and by.

That is Ketch Secor, founding member of the Grammy Award profitable band Outdated Crow Medication Present.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 group and a dad or mum of two college aged children. In reality, the varsity his children 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 totally different hats right here when a faculty capturing occurs in our city. It is each as a dad or mum 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 highway, likelihood is at 8:00 within the morning on Monday after the large weekend, that man or gal is in line dropping their child off at a faculty in Nashville, Tennessee. In relation to your own home, it is totally 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 wish to dwell on the middle of all of it as a dad or mum, educator and musician in Nashville, Tennessee? That is the task. I am Audie Cornish.

The capturing 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 slightly bit? The place have been you whenever you heard it taking place?

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

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 capturing, particularly at a faculty, you are saying it it hits you in a spot of what? Panic. Concern. What? What do you are feeling?

It is. It is all of the above. It is. It is your children. It is another person’s children. , the top of college was murdered. The connections between our faculty are very current, and it is as a group 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 primarily a small Christian major college. Proper. Which is what you what you based one, proper? It had connections.

Yeah. And our faculties are very totally different in that regard and serve totally different populations. Nonetheless, it you recognize, we’re all the identical. We’re all each college, public, non-public, constitution, each stripe is within the enterprise of believing that children are our future and have to be stewarded and liked on and guided. And, you recognize, that is an actual elemental precept for me.

Can I ask, how previous are your children and do they go to the varsity you based?

Yeah, they do. They usually’re 9 and 11.

So did the varsity you based this Episcopal college, did it go into lockdown? Sort of what what did you you all should do in consequence?

No, the faculties 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 lecturers know, all people is aware of, all of the mother and father know, all people is aware of however the children. And we’ll speak about it tomorrow. However we wished to provide the probability to speak about it first. So in the event you can think about a choose up line, anyone who’s who’s been by way of a faculty capturing of their group is aware of, you recognize, the choose up line that first day is stuffed with tears.

Proper. And for individuals who aren’t accustomed to how massive ups and drop offs work as of late in faculties, 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 identical to wandering out of the constructing the place I feel in the event you have been a child within the nineties is what you grew up with. Yeah, it is hand handy cross off.

That is proper, Audie. You could have children.

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 dad or mum’s face is simply drawn.

And each dad or mum is taking a look at each instructor and simply, you recognize, holding again tears as is each instructor. However each baby continues to really feel very secure. And but everyone knows as mother and father 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 could be the primary track they find out about. And also you even write about it on this op ed. Inform me slightly bit about the place you have been in your profession whenever you wrote this.

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

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

And it is a collaboration with Bob Dylan. I wrote it once I was about 17, going to highschool 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 are feeling. Hey mama rock me

You speak about the concept your finest recognized track, 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.

Whenever you make the type of music that I make with a fiddle and a banjo and concord singing and a specific fashion of songwriting, you are partaking in a group that could be totally different than your individual kind of background, and it isn’t. Nicely, there is a practice going by proper now. That is kind of proof..

I bear in mind the practice. Yeah.

The trains are all the time going by in Nashville.

Simply bought to maintain it happening the podcast. It will add slightly little bit of shade and speaks to what I am speaking about. , the trains are going by. The vans have NRA stickers. , once I was a child, there have been Accomplice flags all over the place. That is The South, y’all. It is totally different than the opposite elements of the nation now, for higher or for worse. However it’s what it’s.

And whenever 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 variety of issues.

Yeah. And whether or not it is purported to be that manner or, you recognize, 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 prior to now, simply one thing that exists right here. Take care of it, y’all. When the truth is, we now have 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 partaking 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 is very 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 id of the folks listening. And nation feels very a lot the identical manner. However in consequence, it has a variety of like guidelines. , there is a couple strains you they folks do not such as you to step out of. Are you able to speak about how that performs out in fashionable nation?

Certain. Nicely, as we speak’s nation singer may not come from The South and is faculty educated. So that they are in has already modified the stereotype of who sings nation music. , it is it isn’t 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 rather a lot. 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 resolution makers and our typically managers, there’s been kind of like a variety of analysis into many people who find themselves within the viewers, and the viewers in all probability seems slightly totally 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 recognize, nation music actually particularly, and to make clear, up to date nation music on the radio is an actual secure house for us to not speak about political divisiveness and never speak about issues of of substance. However as a substitute we’re all kind of studying the Pulp Fiction collectively. And it is it is

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

Folks welcome that secure house.

Journey story. It is you recognize, it’s extremely a lot tales, intergenerational household tales. That is the type of stuff that goes primary is the track about grandpa and what a very good man he was and the way if we could possibly be slightly bit extra like him, then the world can be a greater place. So this kind of, you recognize, hallmark type of these beliefs which are tossed round may not be that real looking for as we speak’s actuality of, you recognize, I labored I am a part of a world economic system working two jobs. And, you recognize, I am hoping my children 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 wish to spit some seashore nut in that dude’s eye and shoot him with my previous 45 as a result of a rustic boy can survive. This can be a strategy to for nation music to retain authority in a altering world. And guns–

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

No, Audie. And that is the factor. We do not speak about weapons. If we do, it is a track about I took my boy trying to find the primary time. It is once more, dealing within the nostalgia. What it isn’t saying is I’ve bought an AR-15 in my assortment. However the actuality is that many, many listeners do. And but it is a secure house the place they don’t seem to be 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 recognize, I imply, once I was a child within the eighties, like I went chook hunt with Dad, I realized find out how to fireplace a weapon. I realized find out how to clear a weapon. These items are necessary to the ways in which gun tradition could be a constructive, however the secure house is that we’re not speaking about what it means in as we speak’s America. As an alternative, we’re just about hanging in yesterday’s.

So what’s it like for artists reminiscent of your self to lift this challenge?

Folks preserve saying, thanks for being courageous. And I am like. who’s courageous is the child that pulled the hearth alarm, you recognize, within the hallway below gunfire in our city in a faculty, 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 truth. It is like, Good God, the place will we dwell? What will we not care about children in any respect? It is simply over. So that is my manner of claiming it isn’t 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’s going to 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 reminiscent of your self. Why do you assume it may make a distinction?

Nicely, I feel that Nashville stands uniquely poised to steer a response to the varsity capturing 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, although 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 isn’t simply Tennessee, you’ve got bought 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 price it. I do not wish to as a result of everyone knows it is price 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 recognize 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 Sixties, within the late Fifties mentioned its first foot ahead, this was the proving floor, different elements of the South have been too unsafe. However folks gathered in Nashville, a metropolis of schools, a metropolis of progressive thought within the South to interact 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 exhibits our skill as a as a group to exist outdoors of the state. Now, identical 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 demise knell of the previous South, which goes to have to alter. , 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 particularly, which nonetheless has a really type of robust grip in a manner programmers do, and even current historical past. Proper. When you concentrate on the Dixie Chicks, and many others., their complete story is a narrative of being ostracized for his or her activism.

, 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 recognize, I am not on the awards present with the highest ten performers of the 12 months.

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

They’ve a very far attain and the ability to speed up an inevitable motion to alter this for our youngsters. And I am asking them by way of this piece and in addition nose to nose in my group, by way of conversations of textual content. , I’ve reached out to so many singers prior to now two weeks.

And what sort of textual content you ship.

Hey, I am simply reaching out to all my Nashville music group within the wake of the capturing and sharing this story that I wrote that got here out as we speak in The Instances. If you happen to get a sec, please have a look.

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

Probably 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 track on the topic. For the reason that capturing, 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 resolution.

I imply, the explanation 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 trade? To begin to do one thing comparable, which is which is, in impact, what you are calling for.

It’s starting and it is, I feel, in its infancy, however 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 a profit live performance right here in Nashville that helps Covenant Faculty. And whenever you take a look at the the roster, who’s on the marquee, it isn’t the standard Americana people who all the time say, you recognize, we stand with children, 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 house 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 must always have gun management.

There’s nothing however up right here as a result of we we now have 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 faculties or about the necessity to rethink the forms 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 following step is not as laborious to make. And what I am asking for is that subsequent step. , I’ve gotten a variety of suggestions from my viewers. And like I say in an op ed piece, you recognize, I see the NRA sticker on the again of lot of vans blaring in my tunes. So, you recognize, and we’re out on the highway with Hank Jr. this summer time. So, I imply, I am I am used to taking part in to an viewers that’s our nation people. However I like my nation people 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 massive silos within the nation. Like, I would go to work in a single silo and are available dwelling and the opposite one. And I am good with that as a result of I like these folks.

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

Nation music has a terrific 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 fact. , it’s extremely a lot rooted in a gospel custom of of the lamentation, the calling out to the good 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 track that you’ve got written out of this second?

New materials? , usually, identical to I am in a songwriting temper right here, I am in a a second in time with a variety of totally different alternatives as a author to interact on this, whether or not it is, you recognize, writing the precise 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, mother and father, that our youngsters usually are not secure of their faculties. 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 bought a brand new track 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 recognize, individuals are cagey about their new stuff!

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

All proper. awoke 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’s going to 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 legislation on a dusty scroll.

Ketch Secor is the daddy of two children 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 govt producer. Particular due to 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 as we speak.

Ketch, thanks a lot for sharing that with us.

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


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