Louder Than Weapons – The Task with Audie Cornish


I did not suppose we would be doing one other episode a few mass taking pictures 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 taking pictures, however Nashville particularly. I lived there for a number of years protecting 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 taking pictures victims of the Covenant College, 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That is Ketch Secor, founding member of the Grammy Award profitable band Outdated Crow Drugs Present.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 mum or dad of two faculty aged youngsters. In truth, the college his youngsters attend in East Nashville, he co-founded it in 2016. It is known as the Episcopal College of Nashville.

So I am sporting two totally different hats right here when a college taking pictures occurs in our city. It is each as a mum or dad and it is as any person 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 college in Nashville, Tennessee. In relation to your property, it is totally different.

And the sky lowered within the sky.

Ketch Secor lately wrote an op ed for The New York Occasions 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 reside on the heart of all of it as a mum or dad, educator and musician in Nashville, Tennessee? That is the project. I am Audie Cornish.

The taking pictures on the Covenant College type of prompted you to write down an op ed for The New York Occasions. However can you are taking me again to that day somewhat bit? The place have been you whenever you heard it occurring?

Positive 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 lawyer 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 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 recognize, the pinnacle of college was murdered. The connections between our college 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 faculty. It did not occur at an enormous college. It occurred at basically a small Christian major faculty. 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. Nevertheless, it you realize, we’re all the identical. We’re all each faculty, public, personal, constitution, each stripe is within the enterprise of believing that youngsters are our future and should be stewarded and liked on and guided. And, you realize, 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 faculty, did it go into lockdown? Type of what what did you you all should do in consequence?

No, the colleges adjoining to Covenant did, however the others in Nashville didn’t. And so the factor I believe that was so unhappy that first day was the message that went out saying your youngsters haven’t but been notified. The workers is aware of, the academics know, all people is aware of, all of the mother and father know, all people is aware of however the youngsters. And we’ll speak about it tomorrow. However we wished to provide the likelihood to speak about it first. So if you happen to can think about a choose up line, anyone who’s who’s been via a college taking pictures of their group is aware of, you realize, the choose up line that first day is stuffed with tears.

Proper. And for individuals who aren’t acquainted with 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 believe if you happen to have been a child within the nineties is what you grew up with. Yeah, it is hand handy move off.

That is proper, Audie. You should have youngsters.

Nicely, the juxtaposition of children stuffed with vibrant pleasure and life and fogeys stuffed with grief and unhappiness 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 mum or dad’s face is simply drawn.

And each mum or dad is each trainer and simply, you realize, holding again tears as is each trainer. However each youngster continues to really feel very secure. And but everyone knows as mother and father that no youngster 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 children.

I assume I wish to begin possibly with Wagon Wheel, as a result of if individuals go to look you up, that may be the primary music they study. And also you even write about it on this op ed. Inform me somewhat bit about the place you have been in your profession whenever you wrote this.

Positive. Nicely, Wagon Wheel is my most profitable music.

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 once I was about 17, going to highschool up in New England in a prep faculty known as Exeter, and I used to be had simply discovered to play the banjo up there.

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

You speak about the concept that your finest recognized music, 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 specific type of songwriting, you are partaking in a group that may be totally different than your personal type of background, and it isn’t. Nicely, there is a prepare going by proper now. That is type of proof..

I keep in mind the prepare. Yeah.

The trains are all the time going by in Nashville.

Simply acquired to maintain it happening the podcast. It’s going to add somewhat little bit of colour and speaks to what I am speaking about. You recognize, the trains are going by. The vehicles have NRA stickers. You recognize, once I was a child, there have been Accomplice flags in all places. 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 individual falls on the spectrum, inevitably somebody makes use of that phrase, Nicely, that is The South.

Like, that is speculated to cowl lots of issues.

Yeah. And whether or not it is speculated to be that approach or, you realize, I believe we’re in a state of appreciable progress down south, however the vestiges stay, they usually’re essential 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. Take care of it, y’all. When the truth is, we have now all the time had the facility 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 the direction of The South’s evolution.

To my thoughts, nation, Americana, these genres so carefully align with their audiences. It is very very like hip-hop, like individuals in hip-hop speak in regards to the tradition and their ties to the music, and the music ties to fairly actually the id of the individuals listening. And nation feels very a lot the identical approach. However in consequence, it has lots of like guidelines. You recognize, there is a couple strains you they individuals do not such as you to step out of. Are you able to speak about how that performs out in fashionable nation?

Positive. Nicely, immediately’s nation singer won’t come from The South and is school educated. So that they are in has already modified the stereotype of who sings nation music. You recognize, 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 lots. 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 typically managers, there’s been type of like lots of analysis into many people who find themselves within the viewers, and the viewers most likely seems to be somewhat totally different than individuals 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 realize, nation music actually particularly, and to make clear, modern nation music on the radio is an actual secure area for us to not speak about political divisiveness and never speak about issues of of substance. However as an alternative we’re all type of studying the Pulp Fiction collectively. And it is it is

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

Folks welcome that secure area.

Journey story. It is you realize, it’s extremely a lot tales, intergenerational household tales. That is the type of stuff that goes primary is the music about grandpa and what a superb man he was and the way if we could possibly be somewhat bit extra like him, then the world could be a greater place. So this type of, you realize, hallmark type of these beliefs which might be tossed round won’t be that real looking for immediately’s actuality of, you realize, I labored I am a part of a worldwide economic system working two jobs. And, you realize, 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 essential antidote to all the 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 approach 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 would wish to spit some seaside nut in that dude’s eye and shoot him with my outdated 45 as a result of a rustic boy can survive. This can be a approach 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 select any artist. However do individuals nonetheless speak about that?

No, Audie. And that is the factor. We do not speak about weapons. If we do, it is a music about I took my boy looking for the primary time. It is once more, dealing within the nostalgia. What it isn’t 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 youngster learn how to, you realize, I imply, once I was a child within the eighties, like I went fowl hunt with Dad, I discovered learn how to fireplace a weapon. I discovered learn how to clear a weapon. This stuff are essential to the ways in which gun tradition is usually a optimistic, however the secure area is that we’re not speaking about what it means in immediately’s America. As an alternative, we’re just about hanging in yesterday’s.

So what’s it like for artists comparable to your self to boost this challenge?

Folks preserve saying, thanks for being courageous. And I am like. You recognize who’s courageous is the child that pulled the fireplace alarm, you realize, within the hallway underneath 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’ll sing in regards to the stuff that is actual. I am a author, and I’ll 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 they usually 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 will we reside? What will we not care about youngsters in any respect? It is simply over. So that is my approach 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 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, individuals comparable to your self. Why do you suppose it may make a distinction?

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

However why do you suppose 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 suppose 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 isn’t 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 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 suppose nation musicians are in any approach 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 Nineteen Sixties, within the late Nineteen Fifties mentioned its first foot ahead, this was the proving floor, different elements of the South have been too unsafe. However individuals gathered in Nashville, a metropolis of schools, 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 group to exist exterior 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 forged the deciding vote on on ladies’s suffrage. I imply, Tennessee has been a bellwether place in these two different cases of nice significance. That is the third. That is the a part of the dying knell of the outdated South, which goes to have to vary. You recognize, 50 years from now I believe we’ll be trying again at these couple of years because the deciding time for a assault weapons ban in the US.

Once more, I wish to convey it to the query about nation music artists, particularly mainstream ones who given what we all know in regards to 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 sturdy grip in a approach programmers do, and even latest historical past. Proper. When you consider the Dixie Chicks, and so forth., their complete story is a narrative of being ostracized for his or her activism.

You recognize, 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 realize, I am not on the awards present with the highest ten performers of the yr.

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

They’ve a very far attain and the facility to speed up an inevitable motion to vary this for our children. And I am asking them via this piece and likewise nose to nose in my group, via conversations of textual content. You recognize, 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 group within the wake of the taking pictures and sharing this story that I wrote that got here out immediately in The Occasions. In case you get a sec, please have a look.

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

Essentially the most irritating one is silence. I say within the op ed piece that I believe silence is complicity. I went into the studio and I and I recorded a brand new music on the topic. Because the taking pictures, which is barely 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 assume what wouldn’t it take, do you suppose, for individuals in your trade? 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 believe, 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 College. And whenever you have a look at the the roster, who’s on the marquee, it isn’t the same old Americana of us who all the time say, you realize, we stand with youngsters, we rise 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 stand up and say we must always have gun management.

There’s nothing however up right here as a result of we we have now 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 kinds 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 any person takes one step and the motion can rapidly observe it, then the following step is not as arduous to make. And what I am asking for is that subsequent step. You recognize, I’ve gotten lots of suggestions from my viewers. And like I say in an op ed piece, you realize, I see the NRA sticker on the again of lot of vehicles blaring in my tunes. So, you realize, and we’re out on the highway with Hank Jr. this summer season. So, I imply, I am I am used to enjoying to an viewers that’s our nation folks. However I 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 massive silos within the nation. Like, I would 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 like these individuals.

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

Nation music has an amazing future in these instances to swing out previous the fences which have corralled it in so tightly. That I imagine on this style. And I imagine that it has the facility to hold that reality. You recognize, it’s extremely 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 in regards to the music that you’ve got written out of this second?

New materials? You recognize, usually, identical to I am in a songwriting temper right here, I am in a a second in time with lots of totally different alternatives as a author to have interaction on this, whether or not it is, you realize, writing the best caption for {a photograph} on Instagram or writing an op ed piece for The New York Occasions or being on this podcast with you, Audie. There’s so some ways to decide on my phrases proper now and attempt 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 children are usually not secure of their faculties. What meaning for me as a songwriter is that I even have the possibility to write down new music about this and to place my cash the place my mouth is. So I acquired a brand new music that is popping out known 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 realize, individuals 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. wakened this morning. It was Groundhog Day. I noticed the identical black veil on a crying face and a flag flying half approach. This time it was individuals 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 Drugs 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 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 immediately.

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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