Protest Song

Kelly McCartney of The Bluegrass Situation asked me to share some thoughts post-election. I don’t normally post political items on my website. I know people come here for updates on musical things. But these are not normal times.

Like virtually all my musician friends who have spoken out, I’ve been on the receiving end of some vitriol. I’ve been advised to “stick to music” and “keep your politics to yourself”. If you know anything about my music, you know that my politics, along with my worldview, my sense of empathy for the vulnerable and my deep desire to bear witness for the underdog are at the core of my work as a songwriter. I try to speak truth as I see it. So should you. So should we all. I chose a career as a singer/songwriter; at no point did I sign an agreement to be silent about injustice, inequity and above all, hate.



You can read my op-ed piece at The Bluegrass Situation’s website.


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  1. Thoughtful, eloquent piece, Gretchen. Well said. I don’t subscribe to social media but I’ve been reading lots of comments on Facebook and Twitter with interest. There’s a lot of angry rhetoric and polarised opinions out there. It does seem impossible to imagine that any incoming president, however suitably motivated and skilled, could possibly repair the damage that America (and the wider world) has inflicted on itself. But history has shown us that words, not weapons, have the power to change and heal. It’s up to writers, musicians and artists such as yourself to keep the faith and lead the way. So you go right ahead and say whatever you feel needs to be said.

  2. Disappointed that you seem to have judged the outcome of the President-Elect’s term of office so soon. Maybe it would have been wiser to write about what is happening, rather than what you feel or fear might happen. The liberal left seems to be the most illiberal and vitriolic of all people when they are confronted with a view not in step with their own. The sight of Students at University needing ‘counselling’ to cope with this election result just demonstrates how ridiculous the reaction has been to this event.

  3. We are already experiencing a rate of hate crimes not seen since 9/11. The President-Elect has appointed a racist to be his chief strategist. These things are not predictions; they have already happened. I stand by my words.

  4. Whatever the colour, creed or orientation, are we not all entitled to the same basic human right of Respect from all around us?
    Powerful messages; deserve thought provoking songs, to voice their impact to all.

  5. You are needed more now than ever before, not just as a songwriter but because you are always prepared to speak the truth above all and that is so rare in an artist, many are too panicked that what they say, may hinder their career, but your views and values that I have observed on Twitter and in interviews, always comes from a place of goodness and kindness and I still believe these are the most powerful weapons we have, I do. The truth will out, we are entering into scary territory but I honestly believe it won’t take long before the deciet reveals itself. We have to be strong and keep our beliefs steadfast.

    Plus there is hope, my 14 year old daughter is very politically engaged and enraged about what has happened globally, as are many of her friends who are more clued up than I ever was at her age on issues of race, gender and sexuality. We owe it to them to remain strong and vocal in expressing alternative views (as they sadly now seem) and unearthing and expressing the truth.

  6. Thank you Gretchen! For your beautiful songs & your courageous heart. May your dear son be safe from harm & hate.

  7. Until there is a successful effort to repeal the 1st Amendment, we still have freedom of speech. Please continue to speak your mind in all it’s musical eloquence.

  8. Doesn’t it feel like we are devolving to the 50’s-60’s? Or even farther back when Woody was putting up the mirror to the so-called conservatives of his time? If not for music where would we be? Than and now!!! Please keep singing and writing. And keep the faith. It just means they are afraid of your truth when they try to silence you. If they are so afraid of a song, they do not indicate strength. And their weakness will eventually cause them to stumble. Thank you for your sweet music.

  9. Does keeping the faith mean aborting the innocent, destroying the family, and surrendering our rights to left-wing out of touch elitists and their friends in media and the arts? Does it mean we are not allowed to conscientiously object on the basis of the principles of our faith if Christ? Does keeping the faith mean we continue to be pawns to a media that is so blatantly biased for the liberal left that there is no argument on the matter? Gretchen – you and your left wing friends visceral overreaction to the election of President Trump speaks volumes about just how unhinged the left has become. — I have no problem with you speaking out. I believe in the 1st amendment. Then again, I believe in the 2nd amendment too. Too bad you and your friends on the left don’t.

  10. That anyone who calls himself a Christian would still be defending Donald Trump at this point boggles the mind. But thank you for dropping by my website (I’m assuming you didn’t come for the music, since you have such a low opinion of people in the arts) to make your point.

  11. I’ll say what you cannot say. He’s a bloated, ignorant totally inept man-child. I fear for our kids and grand-kids.

  12. Hello, I just read your piece and wanted to say a heartfelt thank you. In these more than troubling times and every-day surreal world, I am grateful for those that are able to eloquently express what so many of us feel, even now almost 5 months later; because the insanity hasn’t yet stopped. Thank you for speaking the truth.

  13. Fuck Yeah! I love your statement on recent politics… f*k anyone who wants to keep you neat and shutdown and pretty and sellable as a an “act” despite your true calling to TELL THE TRUTH thru songs! People can be so blinded by their own ignorance and attachment to greed and fear based thinking… LAME all that “keep to the music” is all just industry bullshit to me….BLEH! KEEP ON! What is going on in “our” country is so agregious – we (as writers) HAVE TO PRESS ON! THIS IS OUR TIME TO SHINE THE LIGHT ON THE DARKNESS OF ALL THE BIG LIES! WE ARE FOLK/TRUTH/PROTEST singers DAMN IT! … So right on….sounds weird cuz i’m 43 years old…and have no “credits” *YET to my name- but I’m proud of you:) as a writer, as a female, as a truth warrior! we can NEVER stop telling how it is and piercing thru the veil….I LOVE THAT… i am so happy i found you – Thanks for your inspiration…Your website is beautiful and juicy:) I look forward to meeting you one day… HEY and ….Thanks for having the guts to be YOU EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!

    With Love,
    Brandi Miller

  14. Gretchen, I agree with you that if you have something to say that you should SING IT! Even if I don’t agree with your point of view, I can agree with your muse! And ANYTHING you put to music is just fabulous – so even if I am Five Miles to the Right of Atilla the Hun, I can STILL appreciate The Art! And who knows – it gives you an opportunity to change my tune and see things from the Other Side! May God Almighty bless you and all that you do!

  15. I love Gretchen Peters’ music and I share her political views. I’m so glad she speaks her mind and by extension her heart. Her courage will change the world and make it a better place.

  16. Gretchen Peters, you are beautiful.

    Thank you for being a voice of reason in a world of hate.

  17. I’m 81 years old and just discovered your music. Quite by accident, it was “When You Are Old.” Tears flowed from the first line, and from the authority and kindness in your voice. I’ve just now shared it with those who are beloved to me and the quality of the exchange your song generated between us was as profound as anything we’ve ever shared.

    “Five minutes” is playing as I type. I can’t imagine what more I could say than thank you. We live a couple of hard hours away, but next time you grace Freight & Salvage, we’ll be sitting as close to the front as we can get,

    Thank you.

  18. Gretchen, you are a legend! Your soul is kind, caring and far seeing and this shows in your songs. That is more than can be said about some of the people who have left messages accusing you of left wing liberal ‘vitriol’. If being liberal means caring for our fellow man and the vulnerable then sign me up.
    Trump’s vitriol is affecting us all, even here at the other side of the Atlantic. Our children and grandchildren will have to live with the consequences of his lies., and those of our politicians who seem to be following in his wake. That Trump should be allowed 4 more years to wreak his evil lying ways is unthinkable. Keep up the good work Gretchen!

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