With the release of his new album, "The Election Year Waltz", George Scherer has placed himself solidly in the tradition of American folk artists like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, John Prine and Michelle Schocked, who know that music can be both entertaining and edifying. Music that seems to be leaning back in it's chair, while causing the listener to sit up on the edge of theirs. The album begins with "Two Bush Blues", a country blues romp, that takes both good-hearted and caustic aim at the two Bush administrations, and ends with the campy, sing-a-long, "The Election Year Waltz", in which he seems to indict the entire political system. In between, there is plenty of whimsical fun and social commentary, in just the right mix, so that it doesn't come off heavy-handed.
Songs like "Dead Fish Floatin", a sad tale, moaned over a dirty slide guitar background, "Livin' by the Gun", and "Rich Young Ruler" take pointed aim at politicians, environmental polluters, the gun lobby and the church. Even the light-hearted, toe-tappers like "Chicken Pot Pie", "Goin' Back to Lowetown" and "Nobody Takes the Train" take pokes at the processed food industry, corporations and the fast pace of modern life. Yet for all the seriousness of the subject matter, the album leaves you smiling.
"I thought my next album was going to be a road album," George, who travels around 50-60,000 miles a year,says, "until I came up with the first verse of "Two Bush Blues" ("Lately I've been wonderin', 'bout a terrible, troublin' fact/Every time a Bush goes to the White House, we go to war with Iraq"). Suddenly I realized I was headed in another direction."
The song garnered immediate attention. John Weingart, (host of the long-running and well-respected, folk music program, "Music You Can't Hear on the Radio", on WPRB in Princeton, NJ, who broke "Two Bush Blues" nationally), called the song, "a terrific song for 2004, that is politically smart and sophisticated, and musically wonderful". One listener to the station, said: "I literally spit coffee out my nose when the song came on." It has that kind of impact, and the rest of the album does as well.
It's a rural album with a city sensibility; a throwback to a simpler time, yet filled with all the complexities of modern life. In a world full of lip-synch celebrities, karaoke singers, corporate sponsorships and "costume malfunctions", George Scherers' thoughtful, poetic lyrics and seasoned country-blues style, are like the freight train you hear in the distance late at night, while standing on the back porch of your suburban home.
Quotes and reviews:
"A terrific song for 2004 that is politically smart and sophisticated, and musically wonderful.
Music You Can't Hear On The Radio with John Weingart
WPRB at 103.3 FM and WPRB.com
Princeton, New Jersey
"It does not fit exactly with the normal genres I play but it was one of these songs that just needs to get heard. I not only agree wholeheartedly with the lyrics, but I laughed my butt off. It is a great tune and just in time for the coming election debacle."
Bruce Pierson, Tree and Root WDVR-FM Sergeantsville NJ
I just heard the song, "Two Bush Blues" . . . for the first time on local station WKZE, coming home from work. I was flabberghasted....!! It was exactly how I feel
and I loved the feel of the song... great..
Bob Dorn, fan, Beacon, NY
Great satire-especially "Two Bush Blues".
Charles Darling, WYSU, Youngstown OH
" . . .says things that need to be said"
Bruce Sylvester,WMBR, Cambridge MA
. . .excellent . . .nice job. ..
Bob Schremser Kaleidoscope, WTSR, Trenton NJ
"I howled as I listend to this song (Two Bush Blues), but George Dubya's mamma will probably fast forward through this one. Many of Scherer's songs take me back to the 60's when folk songs . . . were written with social conscience. They are intended to get people to sit up and think and not accept the views of the corporate-opwned network-news-in-sixty-seconds sound bites. One person described the "Election Year Waltz" CD as whimsical fun and social commentary, in just the right mix, so that it doesn't come off heavy handed. I could not have said it better myself."
Rick Watson, Snakeskin, April 2004
"I literally spit coffee out my nose when the song came on" Martin Focazio, fan, Upper Black Eddy, PA
"Two Bush Blues", along with other songs from "The Election Year Waltz", is being played (so far) on:
WMBR, Cambridge MA
WTIP, Grand Marais, MN
WFCR-Valley Folk, Amherst, MA
KRBD, Ketchikan, AK
WFMT-The Midnight Special, Chicago, IL
WDIY, Bethlehem, PA
107.7 The Point, Montpieler, VT
WYSU-FM, Youngstown OH
WTSR, Trenton NJ
WKZE- Hudson Valley, NY
Hootenanny Power (WRKF)-Baton Rouge, LA
BlazerRadio (Internet Only)-Birmingham, AL
WSLU 89.5 FM North Country Public Radio, Canton, NY 13617