Reno rocks!

images12.jpgSo … Janet Reno wants to rock. I guess issuing dull, dry legal opinions and scaring young children doesn’t have the allure it used to for the former U.S. Attorney General.

Well, she’ll learn quickly that politics is a lot more forgiving than rock ‘n’ roll. I mean, the music business eats its young. If you make a mistake in Washington, you do some sort of penance and get a high-paying job as a lobbyist. It’s pretty easy to bounce back.

But, what if you make a stinker of an album? You might wind up living under a bridge or something, that’s what!

Actually, Reno isn’t actually recording or playing in a band or anything (thank God!). What she’s done is help put together a three-CD set of songs titled Song of America that serves as a sort of history lesson for those that never passed high-school civics.

HandinAirThm.jpgAmong those contributing tracks are the Blind Boys of Alabama, Devandra Banhart (photo at left by Galen Pehrson), the Black Crowes, Andrew Bird, Danielson, Jim Lauderdale and John Mellencamp. Due out Sept. 18 as a joint (she never inhaled!) release between Split Rock Records and 31 Tigers (through RED Distribution), the collection aims to take listeners on a journey through time from 1492 to the new millennium.

Running the gamut of folk, rock, R&B, country, classical, blues and even hip-hop, the set is the brainchild of Reno herself, who enlisted her niece’s husband, blues-punk phenom Ed Pettersen (for a review of his new album, check out
), for assistance.

“The historical detail of the songs fascinated me and I suggested that Ed (Pettersen) record a whole album of songs focusing on key periods in American history, in order to tell our story to young people who might find joy in learning history through music,” says Reno, in a press release.

Now, I sincerely hope that it works out for Reno and that the collection does lead children to a greater understanding of history, but really … are kids going to sit still long enough to listen to John Wesley Harding doing “God Save The King?”

The complete track listing for Song of America is as follows:

Lakota Dream Song                                                    Earl Bullhead
Once More Our God Vouchsafe to Shine                            Julie Lee
Let Us Break Bread Together                                Blind Boys of Alabama
God Save The King                                                John Wesley Harding
Young Ladies In Town                                                Elizabeth Foster
The Old Woman Taught Wisdom                                Malcom Holcombe
The Liberty Song                                                         Ed Pettersen
Yankee Doodle                                                            Harper Simon
Jefferson & Liberty                                                        The Wilders
Hail Columbia                                                Steven Kowalczyk-Santoro
Star Spangled Banner                                                        Take 6
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child                    Beth Nielsen Chapman
Peg and Awl                                                            Freedy Johnston
Sweet Betsy From Pike                                                BR549
Trail of Tears                                    Will Hill and Jehnean Day Washington
Declaration Of Sentiments                            Minton Sparks and Pat Flynn
Go Down Moses                                                Fisk Jubilee Singers
Dixie’s Land                                        Mavericks featuring Thad Cockrell
John Brown’s Body                                                         Marah
Battle Hymn of the Republic                                        Joanna Smith
Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye                                                Janis Ian
Thousands Are Sailing to Amerikay                      &nbs
p;         Tim O’Brien
The Farmer Is The Man                                                Otis Gibbs
Home On The Range                                                    Joni Harms
Stars & Stripes Forever                                            Jake Shimabukuro
Over There                                                                Jen Chapin
How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On The Farm                   Andrew Bird
Lift Every Voice And Sing                                                Karen Parks
Happy Days Are Here Again                                            Danielson
Brother Can You Spare A Dime?                                        Andy Bey
Seven Cent Cotton and Forty Cent Meat                        Jim Lauderdale
Deportee                                                        Old Crow Medicine Show
Rosie The Riveter                                                    Suzy Bogguss
Reuben James                                                    Folk Family Robinson
Apache Tears                                                        Scott Kempner
The Great Atomic Power               Elizabeth Cook and The Grascals                                           
Little Boxes                                                    Devandra Banhart
The Times They Are A Changin’                        The Del McCoury Band
Get Together                                                            Kim Richey
Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud            The Dynamites/Charles Walker
Ohio                                                                        Ben Taylor
What’s Going On                                                    Anthony David
I Am Woman                                                    Martha Wainwright
Youngstown                                                            Matthew Ryan
Streets Of Philadelphia                                            Bettye LaVette
Wave                                                        Gary Heffern/Chris Eckman
The Message                                                            Shortee
Sleep, My Child (Schlof Mayn Kind)                    Judith Edelman/Neilson Hubbard
Where Were You When The World                                    The Wrights
This Land Is Your Land                                            John Mellencamp

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