I had never heard of Craig Havighurst before today, although I was unknowingly aware of some of his work as a producer of Music City Roots. Havighurst is a journalist/producer in Nashville. He has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from, ahem, Duke University.
None of that is what landed him on my radar today. No, it was an Instagram post.
Those of you who have even halfway paid attention to this here blog know Steve and BJ both are Top Ten All-Time People in Weez World and Top Five Musicians in Weez World. So yeah, I perked up, and I downloaded the episode.
While I love listening to their music, I also really enjoy hearing their takes on the world, society and politics. I love that they do not “Shut Up and Sing”. These interviews were not really about the music, albeit that was included tangentially. Instead, Craig tied in the common themes of both of their new records, the exploited and the forgotten. Both talked about while they both land on the left of the spectrum, they purposely tried to not be heavy handed with their songs on these albums and write for and about the people who quite often are the ones telling them to “Shut up and Sing”. The people hurt by the busting of unions, the stripping of industry, or the remaining industry stripping them of their lives.
Near the end, BJ mentions he actually got to talk with Steve about the albums they were both making. It shows, and Craig does an excellent job of noticing that and exploring the themes. Jason Isbell and Drive-By Truckers have explored these themes lately as well. It has been some of my favorite music of the last several years.
There is frequently a call from the “common man” for celebrities, athletes, and musicians to not express their beliefs. I’ve never understood this. Why does Billy at the plant who never left his county get to have an opinion, but those who have travelled and seen the world not?
So, keep on refusing to Shut Up and Sing. I’m listening. You should too.