Welcome to folkVOTE

A Message From Si Kahn

Even during the pandemic, through traditional and online radio, social media, and live streaming, roots musicians still reach hundreds of thousands of potential voters. That’s why Art Menius and I are launching folkVOTE.

Our goal is to harness the power of music and musicians to help get out the vote this November. We hope musicians will:

• Make a brief statement and a song about the need to register and vote available through online concerts, videos, websites, newsletters, and social media.
• Write songs about the vote to use either themselves or by their musician friends who aren’t songwriters.
• Make and post videos of your get out the vote songs
• Suggest historic songs that might fit the bill.

Please send us your voting-related videos and songs

folkVOTE welcomes songs about voting and why we vote from almost all political viewpoints, left, right, or in the middle. Please send your lyrics and links, no matter how basic and homemade, to November3@folkvote.sikahn.com.

FolkVOTE supports freedom of artistic expression, but please understand that the opinions expressed in the songs posted on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of folkVOTE, Si Kahn or Art Menius.

We shall not, however, post lyrics or videos that contain what we deem to be hate speech, racist content, deliberately misleading statements, or calls to violence. folkVOTE is about inspiring people to use the ballot box to achieve positive change through full citizen participation.

To join the special folkVOTE mailing list, please use this form:

folkVOTE Featured Song and Video September 15

The Laborer on Election Day performed by Katherine Rhoda

Though pre-19th Amendment and thus about male voters only, The Laborer on Election Day, from the 1874 songbook The Trumpet of Reform: A Collection of Songs, Hymns, Chants and Set Pieces for the Grange, the Club, and All Industrial & Reform Organizations, is worth a look. Words are by J.G. Whittier, who I assume to be Quaker poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier, and music by G.F. Root, presumably George F. Root who edited the collection and who wrote a number of noted Civil War songs. The whole songbook can be downloaded for free at https://archive.org/details/reformc00root This song is #76, on p. 81 of the PDF.

Read more from Katherine about historical songs about voting here.

folkVOTE Featured Song and Video September 10

The F-Word (Fascism) by John Dillon

Not in America, how absurd
We’d never thought we’d have to use the F-word
But rising from the ashes of political mayhem
It’s F – A – S – C – I – S – M
In Madeleine Albright’s book she wrote it
No longer can we laugh or sugar coat it
We’ve got to call it out before it’s too late
This is the American Fascist State

Lie by lie, norm by norm
Manipulating reality’s become an art form
Like the frog, we’ve been boiling so slow
We didn’t even notice we’d fallen so low
What were we thinking, a tv star?
Who bankrupted businesses, and paid off porn stars
We took the bait that sealed our fate
This is the American Fascist State

With Barr at his side they break the rules
Elected republicans say it’s all cool
Unconfirmed puppets, guardrails long gone
Imaginary enemy, battle lines drawn
He’s divided America, wants us to fight
In MAGA country, great means white
Where love and civility are trumped by hate
This is the American Fascist State

Have we passed the point of no return?
Can we not see it, will we not learn?
The American experiment’s gone horribly awry
It’s up to you and me, vote or die
Our democracy can’t take another four years
Of private police and profiteers
We already know they’re gonna cheat
But if we all show up we won’t be beat
Vote everyone, don’t hesitate
Don’t want this American Fascist State
Vote out this American Fascist State
Don’t want this American Fascist State

folkVOTE Featured Song and Video September 2

Today I Get to Go and Cast a Vote © David Roth  www.davidrothmusic.com

Today I got to go and cast a vote
All privileged and loaded up with hope
I will never take this right for granted, nope
Today I got to go and cast a vote

I voted for a guy I know named Dan
But it wasn’t just because I know him, he’s an honest man
He does the things he says that he will do
How many politicians do you know for whom that’s true?

It’s my observation that candidates will say the things
They think that their constituents want to hear
In order to get voted in, they make up stuff, accuse and spin
Misinform, exaggerate, and smear

What about the rest of us, the ones who pay their salaries
Left scratching our collective heads for lack of
Decent health insurance, Wall Street bungling,
Headline jumbling, sound bite chewing venom spewing,
Let’s agree to disagree and have a conversation

Today I get to go and cast a vote
I hope the votes are counted fairly in those envelopes
I will never take this right for granted, nope
Today I got to go and cast a vote

I’m not up for any office, but if pressed I’d make a platform
On which I could stand and there’d be lots of room for you
How ‘bout this, take care of business here at home and
With what’s left we’ll go around the world and do the best that we can do

Then I’d figure out how we could rout about three trillion dollars
Pull it out of fighting, how ‘bout housing, education
Weaning off of fossil fuel, some environment protection,
Love and let love, we’ve got a big election…

I’d add a dose of foresight, unlike many corporations seeking
Short-term profit, making money quickly as they can
On my platform there’d be room for long term planning,
Nonsense banning, budgets spanning lifetimes so our kids will have a chance

But I’m not running, I’m just voting, I’ll be toting my agenda
More addenda coming as we fashion our new visions
Starting here and now with Dan, I still believe it, yes we can
With powerful and personal decisions

Today I get to go and cast a vote
All privileged and loaded up with hope
I will never take this right for granted, nope
Today I got to go and cast a vote
Other countries in the world please take note

Today I got to go and cast a vote

folkVOTE Featured Song and Video August 28

The Woman’s Suffrage Song

©2020 words & music by Sharleen Leahey • August Echo Music / BMI

Sharleen Leahey performs “The Woman Suffrage Song” at the 4th Annual Women’s Work Concert at the Howland Arts Center in Beacon, NY. The song chronicles the 72-year-long struggle American women waged for the right to vote. This year we celebrate the Centennial of the passage of the 19th amendment on August 26, 1920. in celebration of the Centennial!

FREE DOWNLOAD
“The Woman’s Suffrage Song”
available on Sharleen’s 3rd CD “For the 99” available online at:
https://www.rumorsofpeace.net/the-woman-s-suffrage-song

folkVOTE Featured Song and Video August 23

Three Faces in a Row

Words and music by Charlie King

After attending the 2013 March on Washington I wrote “3 Faces In a Row,’ to echo Rev. Sharpton’s powerful call to challenge Voter Suppression.

“We’re on our way to North Carolina, we’re on our way to Texas, we’re on our way to Florida. And when they ask us for our voter ID, take out a photo of Medgar Evers; take out a photo of Goodman, Chaney & Schwerner; take out a photo of Viola Liuzzo – they gave their lives so we could vote. Look at this photo. It gives you the idea of who we are.” Rev. Al Sharpton, Aug. 24, 2013, 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

folkVOTE Featured Song and Video August 17

Not Going Back (I Don’t Think So)

Words and music by Mary Lou Fulton

Not Going Back is the winner of the Social Change Song of the Year contest organized by the Renaissance Artists and Writers Association! See notgoingback.org for more about the song and to request free sheet music and choir arrangements.

Credits: Lyrics and vocals by Mary Lou Fulton Music by Mary Lou Fulton & Rob Seals, founder of the Songwriting School of Los Angeles Song arranged and produced by Rob Seals, who also played acoustic guitar Video directed and produced by Joe Rubalcaba.

folkVOTE Featured Song and Video August 11

America the Possible / Susan Shann / © 2020

Tell me why just being who you are should be a crime
Why the color of my skin determines if that fate is mine
If Jesus Christ were here, he would be weeping for us all
‘Cause if we can’t lift each other up, together we will fall
And you can say “That’s not my problem”, sit out on the sidelines
Or you can join in the fight
Either way it’s a decision, one you’ll have to live with
In the struggle between wrong and right
Oh, I believe together we can be unstoppable
Yes, I believe in America the possible
For every name heard in the news, ten thousand more unknown
Living in the shadows of a promise they have not been shown
Behind our differences we share a common dream
A country where all people live in peace and harmony
And we can say “That’s not our problem”, sit out on the sidelines
Or we can join in the fight
Either way it’s a decision, one we’ll have to live with
In the struggle between wrong and right
Oh, I believe together we can be unstoppable
Yes, I believe in America the possible
Some say “Do unto others…” Some say “Every man for himself”
Me, I want to live in a country where worth isn’t measured
By race, religion, gender, or wealth
Sometimes the lines get drawn, sometimes the truth gets lost
Between victim and oppressor, we may never know the cost
Maybe we can’t undo the damage of the past
But we can start right here, right now to find true freedom… at last
At last, oh at last
I won’t say “That’s not my problem”, I won’t sit out on the sidelines
I’m gonna join in this fight
‘Cause I know that my decision, is one I’ll have to live with
For the rest of my life
Oh, I believe together we can be unstoppable
Yes, I believe in America the possible
Yes, I believe in America…
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands
One nation, under God, Indivisible
With liberty and justice… for all… It’s for all… It’s for ALL… Ooh

folkVOTE Featured Song and Video August 4

Vote, Dammit! by John McCutcheon

https://youtu.be/JSkwk6Z7HUk

Vote, Dammit!

words & music by John McCutcheon

words & music by John McCutcheon

John Lewis walked across that bridge
(So you could) vote, dammit
Like a soldier charging up a ridge
(So you could) vote, dammit
Since that day in Selma town
When violence threw him to the ground
He rose each time he was beaten down
So vote, dammit

Chorus

Vote dammit
Stand in line
Vote dammit
Every time
Prove your power, let it shine
And vote dammit

They fought the Klan, they fought Jim Crow
(So you could) vote, dammit
They fought so you could have it so
So vote, dammit
They were brave and they were true
Did what they were asked to do
Now the future looks to you
So vote, dammit 

Chorus

For fifty years we’ve had to fight
So vote, dammit
Still they try to steal our right
So vote, dammit
Will you rise when you are asked to stand
When the call goes out, will you raise your hand
Let your voice be heard across this land
So vote, dammit

Chorus

Bridge

All those heroes of the past
Dreamed ‘bout the ballot that they’d cast
Prayed their sacrifice would last

So, on that Tuesday in November
Vote, dammit
Those gone before we will remember
Vote, dammit
‘Cause freedom is not guaranteed
We are the proof that they’d succeed
Good Trouble is just what we need
So vote, dammit

Chorus

July 31, 2020
St. George Island, FL