David Carroll's 'Songs Of Love & Protest' out Digitally in September
There is no songwriter like David Carroll. He calls himself the “hardest-working Austro-Czech-American-Irish-Jew in showbusiness,” and his uniquely syncretic background comes across in his tunes. Like a modern day Woody Guthrie – who he paid tribute to with two tribute concerts in 2012, covering songs like “All You Fascists Are Bound To Lose” -- Carroll cuts the crap and talks about the things that really matter, with a performative flair picked up from years of experience playing live in France.
For Carroll, both love and protest matter. Peppering his acoustic-driven folk with signposts of the 21st century – bleeps and bloops, synth squeals, electronic drums – he makes the case that protest can only work with love, that love is an integral part of positive change. As a spoken-word sample in single “Holding On To Love” argues, “People don’t know how dangerous love songs can be.”
That quote comes from none other than Irish legend James Joyce, whose epic Ulysses served as the primary inspiration for “Holding On To Love”. As Carroll recounts, “James Joyce condensed the 15.000 verses and 10 years of Homer’s Odyssey into a one-day novel. Joseph Carroll, my Grandfather, adapted Joyce’s masterpiece into a one-hour stage play, Mr. Bloom and the Cyclops. I tried to cram Ulysse’s adventures into a six-minute pop song, a nocturnal odyssey through city bars and backstreets.”
So Carroll’s post-Occupy manifesto is just as much about love as it is protest, just as much about looking back to a past we can learn from as it is about forging something new and wonderful. Combining a sly sense of humor with a perceptive take on the realities of the day, he tackles topics like voting difficulties (“Can’t Vote”), planned obsolescence (“Broken Cardoor Blues”), and the end of the 1% (“Wall Street is Burning”). He even covers “This Land Is Your Land,” imploring us to take the land back, to make it ours again, to wrestle it away from the corporations and private entities that work to disenfranchise us, dispossess us of our value, and turn us into mindless, unthreatening consumers on the margins.
Yet throughout, David Carroll somehow maintains his optimism. Throughout his years in Europe, he has encountered too many wonderful people to give up hope. And Songs of Love and Protest reminds us that a better world is possible – we just have to get out there and work for it