Co-Write with Woody Guthrie: Color Line (Old Man Trump)

BIG news: I have signed my very first co-write agreement with non other than… Woody Guthrie! I humbly submit to you Color Line, lyrics by Woody Guthrie, music & new lyrics by yours truly. The beautiful arrangement you’ll hear is thanks to producer Bernardo Baglioni (as some of you may have guessed). To listen, click the player below or click here!

The story:

This may seem strange, as Guthrie left this earth quite some time ago. But like many of Guthrie’s works, these lyrics and the subject of the song are very much of this moment in American history, despite the 50+ years they have been gathering dust. So let’s start from the beginning.

In 1950, Woody Guthrie signed a lease on an apartment in Brooklyn, NY. The public housing complex, one of many that received federal loans & subsidies in the postwar years, was owned by Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father. Soon after moving in, Guthrie began penning lyrics lamenting the fact that the equal opportunity the public housing initiative was supposed to afford was not, in fact, equal. Blacks were turned away, told the housing was full, or discouraged by falsely inflated rents. In his lyrics — unpublished until earlier this year — Guthrie holds Trump personally accountable for the racist rental policies employed at his properties:

I suppose
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
Racial Hate
He stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line…

The accusations made in these bitter lines were later confirmed in various legal proceedings against the Trump real estate empire. The most damning evidence came from Trump’s own employees, who testified that rental applications for Trump properties were indeed coded by race, and that doormen and supers were encouraged “to decrease the number of black tenants… by encouraging them to locate housing elsewhere.”

I came across these lyrics in an article published by Will Kaufman, the scholar who discovered them, in January of this year. And I was absolutely stunned by the uncanny resemblance between Guthrie’s depiction of Trump senior and his son, the 2016 Republican nominee for President of the United States.

Reading the lyrics, I heard a melody immediately. Their prosody, their urgency… they needed to be released. I picked up a guitar, hummed the melody, edited Guthrie’s original lyrics, and added some of my own. It took quite a while to reach an agreement with Woody Guthrie Publications for usage of the lyrics, since they had never been published before and I was among hundreds of songwriters seeking to use them. But now here we are, just a few days before this crucial (unbelievable) election, and a signed co-write contract found its way to my inbox.

100% of my proceeds from sales of this track will be donated to the Woody & Marjorie Guthrie Fund at the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. Woody Guthrie passed away from Huntington’s Disease in 1967, and we are still working towards a cure for this fatal illness.

I hope I have done some justice to Guthrie’s legacy with this project. I hope Guthrie’s original intent carries across the decades to this critical moment in our nation’s history. I hope each and every one of you votes on Tuesday (not to worry – my absentee ballot is IN). And I hope that on Wednesday morning, as dawn breaks over the big, beautiful, protean experiment that is America, we wake to a brighter future.

See you on the other side,
Marina

 

The Lyrics:

(Guthrie/Evans)

I suppose
Old Man Trump
Old Man Trump

Oh he knows
Just how much
Racial Hate
He stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts

Human hearts 
When he drawed
That color line

That color line
That color line

This just ain’t, this just ain’t
My home, my home

This just ain’t, this just ain’t
My home, my home
Home – 

I just can’t pay my rent
My money’s down the drain

My soul is badly bent
I break my back
And I’m drowning
Just the same
Though he never earned it,
Trump he drawed
That dollar line
That dollar line
That dollar line

This just ain’t, this just ain’t my home, my home
Where are ya, America
My home, my home?

Children dying in the desert
He says: Build a wall
He draws his hate line in defiance
Of God and man’s law

I suppose Old Man Trump
Old Man Trump

He don’t wanna know…

 

New Song! “Blessed Burden”

international-day-of-peace-logo

 

 

 

Hello all, in honor of the International Day of Peace on September 21, I am very excited to share a brand new song with you along that theme.

I wrote this song in a moment of helplessness — a feeling that is becoming all too familiar to many of us, unfortunately — when news of bombs and shipwrecks and shootings is constant and overwhelming. I got caught on the idea of peace as a burden that must be fought for, earned, and shared among the many, as opposed to a blessing bestowed upon and enjoyed by the few (hardly a new idea, I know, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it). But true peace is not easy, and neither is true love — and in this way, these challenges are also our sweetest blessings, both to give and to receive. I’ll leave it at that, and let the song say the rest. Click here to watch the video on YouTube if the below embedded preview isn’t working.

 

Lyrics

Verse:

Across wild seas and war torn lands

In droves they flee, screaming and wringing their hands

One fence, one borderline previously unseen

Is now a trench sharply defined, defended by artillery

Chorus:

We can spare it – a little love

We can share it – I know there’s more than enough

Verse:

I am sitting here in the warm cocoon of home

I’ve never known such fear, never was reduced to skin and bones

Who decided that this life

Was not for everyone, that this dream was divided?

Chorus/Bridge:

We can bear it – a little peace

We can bear it – to give love, give love is

Freefall – it’s scary

Trust entire

It’s a blessed burden

To light and tend this fire

Verse:

People, rise – and hold each other tight and near

Love defies the dark, the anger, greed, and fear

We’re just one little planet in a sea of stars

And whether we are gonna make it is a question of heart

Chorus:

We can bear it – a little peace

We can bear it – ’cause it’s love will set us free…

 

copyright 2016 Marina Evans

Supporting the legendary Judy Collins: 2 Sold Out Shows!

judy collins

 

 

 

 

September 11 and 12, 2015: Marina is honored to be supporting legendary songwriter, author, painter, and activist Judy Collins for two sold-out concerts at the stunning Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, MA!

With an incredible catalog of 50+ albums, Collins has been a leader and inspiration for songwriters and activists the world over since the 1960s. She has earned several Grammy Awards, and has released multiple gold- and platinum-selling albums. Known for her mellifluous voice, unparalleled artistry and musicianship, and her creative interpretations of traditional and well-known songs, Collins is an icon who has long been an important influence on Marina’s music and career.

In fact, the best way to explain her feelings on supporting such a folk legend, Marina feels, is to quote one of Collins’ own lyrics (!):

“Pinch me darlin’ I think I’m dreamin’
This is too good to be true
…”

Supporting Jonathan Edwards @ Great Waters Music Festival

Jonathan Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marina is truly honored to announce that she and Bernardo will be traveling north to beautiful Wolfeboro, New Hampshire to support the legendary Jonathan Edwards in concert on Saturday, July 25! Holy geez!

Over 40 years and 15 albums, Edwards has touched countless souls with his honest, insightful, and spirited songs & performances. A passionate performer with a voice that only sweetens with age, and a witty and sharply observant writer, Edwards puts on a uniquely entertaining and inspiring show.

Marina & Berna will be opening for Jonathan with a brief, original, acoustic set on the gorgeous main stage at the Great Waters Music Festival on Saturday, July 25, at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $12-$30; click here to visit the Great Waters site where you’ll find a full calendar, directions, ticket information, and more.