Willie Walker took to the mic again to address racism in a new song with Paul Metsa. / Tom Wallace, Star Tribune
A cross-section of Twin Cities music vets have banded together to record a new anti-racism anthem, which they released today ahead of a white supremacist rally planned this weekend in Washington, D.C.
Memphis-reared blues belter Willie Walker – fresh off being awarded best male blues singer in Living Blues magazine’s critics poll – takes the lead in “Ain’t Gonna Whistle Dixie Anymore,” a song written by and recorded with Minneapolis troubadour Paul Metsa. Local gospel/soul choir Sounds of Blackness also lent their giant voices to put an exclamation point on the song.
The track hit Spotify and iTunes/Apple Music on Wednesday via Rock the Cause Records, the nonprofit St. Paul label that helped raise over $1 million for cancer research off late Stillwater teen strummer Zach Sobiech’s bittersweet anthem “Clouds.”
All proceeds from streaming and downloads of “Ain’t Gonna Whistle Dixie Anymore” will go toward the (racism-fighting) Southern Poverty Law Center and St. Paul’s High School for the Recording Arts, whose students were recruited to release a hip-hop version of the song that’s due for release in September.
“I saw your tiki torch parade on the blood red evening news,” Walker slowly stews at the start of the version out today. “I remembered Timothy McVeigh and that Jesus was a Jew / Benedict Arnold waits for you in the hottest place in hell / The screaming souls will drown you out-your Seig Heil Rebel Yell.”
The lyrics (available in full here) go on to reference last summer’s white-power rally in Charlottesville, Va., which culminated in one rally member ramming his car at top speed through a crowd of counter protestors, killing one person and injuring 19 others. This weekend’s Unite the Right march in Washington, D.C., is being organized to mark the anniversary of that Charlottesville event.
Here’s a promo video that Rock the Cause posted via YouTube to promote the single (a sample of which starts around the :30 mark).