The "shut up and sing" issue comes up during times of political upheaval in America when artists speak out about their opinions.
The Dixie Chicks got in so much trouble for Natalie Maines' comments that they practically lost their entire fanbase, but of course, they got revenge when Dan Wilson helped them write that great comeback revenge song that won a bunch of awards at the Grammys that year.
"And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter sayin' that I better
Shut up and sing or my life will be over"
What livelihood did the person have who wrote her the letter?
Who is an expert on politics?
Who gets to have an opinion?
Not the writers?
Not the artists?
Bob Dylan didn't ever make his opinions public but he certainly was with the liberal faction when he first performed at some Folk concerts with Joan Baez.
I think an artist can be clearly on the populist side of things, for the people, as they say, but maybe the artist isn't supposed to talk details.
It feels distasteful to many.
But who gets to talk details then?
The office worker.
The truck driver.
Who is qualified in the eyes of the public to give their opinion?
We want everyone to vote.
But who do we consider to be an educated voter?
Last night my friend Joe came over to visit.
We sat around with Rob and we talked about American politics.
Joe is a film maker and songwriter, a photographer and more.
He's traveled all over America and Europe with my band, making music videos for me and taking many great photos.
He's half Jewish, half Polish Catholic.
He has opinions.
Rob has opinions.
I have opinions.
Joe thinks Bernie can never win and is too far Left.
Rob and my son Jordan love Bernie.
I would like Bernie to win the presidency and I think Joe Biden will be a waste of the next four years, like a place holder for the Democrats but that's about it.
How does anybody judge any of it?
I saw a thing on Facebook saying people should vote with their gut.
Maybe that's all anyone does.
You try to decide who you can trust.
Some people are very well informed, but what good do all the facts do us when we can still be completely blindsided by results...like when Donald Trump was elected and the whole world was shocked.
So, politics is not my profession or my main field of interest but it's part of my life and I always try to write about what's going on in my life.
The songs come from somewhere, you know, and they should come from a deep well of contemplation.
"Come gather round people where ever you roam
and admit that the waters around you have grown
and accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
if your time to you is worth saving
then you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone
for the times they are a changin'."
These words are threatening.
They're a call to action.
They mean something between the lines.
These words are for every single person on the planet at any and every moment.
This is always the truth.
There are no exceptions.
Every person must be aware and every person should speak and hold opinions and see how their opinions hold up in real life.
Talk about what you think.
Don't hold your tongue because you think you don't know enough about the world or about life or about right and wrong.
And there are a whole bunch of dumbasses out there who are not keeping quiet.
Drown them out with your good hearted good sense.