After a wave of sexual assault and harassment stories flooded the Twin Cities music scene this summer, a cross-section of 17 women and nonbinary songwriters turned their and others’ experiences into songs for a new charity-related compilation album.
Titled “#MeTooMpls,” the heart-tugging, gut-punching, fist-raising collection will be formally released Oct. 2 following a Sept. 24 virtual release party livestreamed from the Hook & Ladder Theatre.
The compilation’s list of contributing tunesmiths is long, varied and impressive: Tina Schlieske, Chastity Brown, Lydia Liza, Mary Bue, Annie Mack, Linnea Mohn, Ang Oase (ex-Pennyroyal), Annie Fitzgerald, Elska, r0 (of Static Panic), Katy Vernon, Kara Laudon, Averil Bach and JØUR (Jourdan Myers).
To pre-hype the album and concert, organizers have issued Schlieske’s solo acoustic track “What Would You Pay (Dear Harvey),” a stark and powerful riff on the long-term damage and lack of reparation that many sexual assault victims experience. One guess who the Harvey is addressed in the song (posted below).
“I should’ve kept my mouth shout, I should’ve never said a thing,” the Tina & the B-Sides bandleader sings. “But this body that I live in has become unsafe to me. How much would you pay for this life you stole away from me?”
Schlieske is one of the three contributors who will perform live at the Hook & Ladder, along with Mayda and Sarah Morris. Most of the other artists are pre-taping performances to be shown during the livestream.
There’s also a GoFundMe campaign behind the album, where the origins of the project are explained this way:
“All the songwriters involved were asked to write and record an original song on the subject of #MeToo. Without any further guidelines, the artists delivered songs ranging from heartbreaking songs about surviving sexual assault to inspiring songs about feminist icons and their influence on their lives.”