Saturday marked the 100th day of the new regime, and that number feels even more trivial and arbitrary now that we’re on the other side of it—especially when it means that Our First 100 Days, the playlist that’s been getting us through with a new song every day, was forced by virtue of its own name to come to a close.
After featuring songs from the likes of Angel Olsen, Julien Baker, The Mountain Goats and Beach Fossils, they ended things with the release of a version of Woody Guthrie’s timeless “This Land Is Your Land” performed by Phosphorescent. It’s a moving and serene performance from Matthew Houck and co., coming across with a perfect mix of sadness, love and hope. The organizers behind the playlist also announced that as of day 100, the project had raised more than $100,000 for the organizations it was supporting, including All Above All, People’s Climate Movement and Southerners On New Ground. You can help out by purchasing the playlist for a minimum of $30 at the Bandcamp page, and the songs will remain available to listen to for free there until January of 2018.
Give a listen to Phosphorescent’s cover of “This Land Is Your Land” below, where you can also read Houck’s statement on the song and watch his performance at the Paste Ruins at the Newport Folk Festival in 2013. You can also find some of the best Trump burns from Our First 100 Days here.
“Sometime about a year ago
I heard “This Land Is Your Land”
And it brought me to tears
Like maybe most Americans I guess I’ve known it forever
It’s one of those magic ones that snuck through somehow
And slipped into the jet-stream of collective consciousness
Just like Woody Guthrie himself did
Somebody out there on the internet had made a collage of footage
Of thousands of folks singing this song together at Bernie Sanders rallies
Voices raised together in a spirit of generosity;
Then juxtaposed it with footage from Trump rallies from that time
People punching, spitting, yelling
So much hate and anger
So much ugliness;
Everyone at ease with the empty mean-ness of it all;
Everyone agreeing on impotent vile-ness
As basic human-ness
There were a handful of Phosphorescent shows around that time
And I started singing This Land Is Your Land during the set
But it didn’t then and still doesn’t now feel political
I’m not sure I fully grasp what constitutes “political”
The other night over a drink with a friend
It came up that I was gonna record this song for this 100 Days benefit
“Oh that’ll do it,” he joked, “That’ll fix everything.”
And I laughed cuz I reckon he is right in a lot of ways
And I can be as jaded as anybody
Depending on the hour, day, mood
But I don’t want to live there
So anyway, what is this politics?
Where does personal end and politics begin?
Are all songs political?
Is this a political song?
Regardless, does an 80-year-old folk song have any purchase in 2017?
Do “most Americans” know it?
Does that matter?
Does this / Can this do anything
As relates to the 100th day in office
Of a “President” of a “Nation” ?
I don’t know
I only know that it speaks to that looming thing
That has stayed near me my whole life;
That thing that wants nothing to do with fear
Or selfishness or pettiness or greed;
That thing which blindly and stubbornly
Persists in believing in the sweetness of this world
It speaks to that thing and says,
“Stay a little longer hey,
This land was made for you and me”