You Must Hear This Moving Tribute to the Charleston 9

Posted July 26, 2015 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

Out of the abyss of one of the darkest chapters in American racism comes an inspiring song reaching the splendor of “A Change Is Gonna Come”

In wake of the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina where white supremacist Dylann Roof opened fire in Emanuel AME Church killing nine black people in a prayer service, folk-rock band Delta Rae quickly released a song independently that pays tribute to the victims and to also raise awareness on the ills of racism. With a powerful black gospel component and a message using the inspirational ink of Bob Dylan, “All Good People” feels like a modern day freedom song. But inside the poignant lyrics, Delta Rae deals with much more, even addressing the often-silent conversation about white privilege (“We can’t old our breath forever when our brothers cannot breathe.”)

The family band, who hails from nearby Durham, North Carolina — only 300 miles apart, knows there’s an inescapable urgency to addressing the topic of race relations in this country in pertains to the rise of police brutality on blacks and, subconsciously, the debate over the use of the Confederate battle flag, which was seen in pictures of Roof that went viral after the Charleston massacre. The boldness Delta Rae uses while encountering these controversial issues is definitely striking, and points to the type of morale thy have for positive music and for mankind. You can sense their desperate cry for universal brotherhood all inside the lyrics: “All good people, won’t you come around? Defend your brothers.”

Recently a wave of rock stars including Tom Petty and Lynyrd Skynyrd who have once used the Confederate flag and Confederate-related emblems in their own “Southern-loving” branding have apologized for using it. Petty went so far to say that “it was downright stupid,” when recalling using the flag during his ‘Southern Accents’ tour in 1985 to Rolling Stone magazine. Patterson Hood of the Drive-By-Truckers, son of Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section’s David Hood, also spoke about to the New York Times about the flag’s connection to racism and asserted that its usage only fosters hate. “It’s high time that a symbol so divisive be removed,” he said. “The flags coming down symbolize the extent to which those who cry ‘heritage, not hate’ have already lost their argument. Why would we want to fly a symbol that has been used by the KKK and terrorists like Dylann Roof?”

At their ‘After It All’ tour stop in Birmingham, Ala., guitarist/singer Ian Hölljes spoke very passionately about the importance of this song. “[We decided to] address all of this violence against black people in this country for a year or longer….and we’re struggling,” he says. “This song is our small way of contributing an end to this racism in this county and trying to advocate for all of us being a part of that change. All proceeds of the single, where’ve you may encounter it, will be going directly to the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.”

Watch the live performance of “All Good People” below.

Purchase digital copies of “All Good People” at Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.




About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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