Two years ago, the NC Music Love Army began as a platform to protest the state's increasingly hard-right political stance. The collective released a handful of singles last fall, and today, they're offering a new video for one of them: "Dear Mr. McCrory." Charlotte-based NCMLA leader Jon Lindsay, who is soon moving to Raleigh, wrote the song, which also features members of American Aquarium, cellist Kaitlin Grady and NCMLA co-founder Caitlin Cary.
It's a direct critique of McCrory, the state's bumbling leader and former Charlotte mayor. Lindsay and company even compare McCrory to Alabama's infamous George Wallace.
We caught up with Lindsay to talk about the video and the future of the Music Love Army. You can also watch the video in all its intense-gaze glory below.
INDY: When did this song come together? Jon Lindsay: We released the track last year. The Love Army stuff is remarkable because everybody donates their time and talents when I call them up in the middle of the night to do stuff. This video was par for the course. Frank Eaton did it for free. I was in town for Hopscotch, so it was shot the week of Hopscotch last year on a very, very hot day between the Capitol and The Pour House. Frank does a lot of the political ads you see on TV in North Carolina. That’s his sort of bread and butter. He’s just a regular civilian with a full-time job, so I think this was just as fast as he could get the video turned around for us. These things take time.
It’s actually probably for the best, given all the other things we have going on and given the voting rights trial that’s in progress right now. The song is, essentially, a pretty straightforward critique of the 800-pronged attack on voting rights that we have going on here. With the timeliness of the trial, I’m extra-pumped that the video had a slight delay time. Now it can drop in the middle of all this stuff, which just makes it even more poignant, hopefully.
You’re moving up to Raleigh soon, right?
I will be there full-time on September 1. My fiancée will be there August 1, because she’s doing the MFA in Writing program at State and needs to be up there earlier. I’ve got a house here in Charlotte that I have to do some work on for a tenant that I’m going to have while we’re living away, and I’ve also got to finish up some final mixes for a bunch of the new Jon Lindsay stuff that’s coming out soon. I’ll be back down here for a couple weeks in August getting all that stuff wrapped up, and then I’ll be joining her at our new house.
How do you expect this move will affect your work with the Music Love Army? Do you think you’re going to start doing even more?
It’s only going to help it. The stuff we’ve been able to do to date has all happened in spite of the fact that I live in Charlotte and have lived in Charlotte for the history of that project. We’ve had to do a lot of things around my schedule, and there’s pretty much nothing we’ve done on the project that I haven’t touched. It’s been very tough but extremely rewarding and amazing. Everybody’s been fantastic. I’m only doubling down on the work I’ve done so far in the political sphere, so I would absolutely expect that being in Raleigh is only going to be a boon to my activism work but also the Love Army in general.
What do you have planned next for the Love Army?
There’s so much. The most important priority for the Love Army is our next single, “The Ballad of Lennon Lacy.” I did a HK on J rally in February in Raleigh that had like 30,000 people at it. Both the recent Chapel Hill shooting victims’ and the Lacy families had a really tender moment onstage where they met each other and shared mutual condolences and came together in solidarity over the tragedies that happened to both their families. That was the first day that I met Lennon’s mom and brother, Pierre, and told them that I was working on this song and eventually shared it with them. They were super touched and very appreciative.
This was back in February, and I don’t know if folks know this or not, but Eric Holder brought up a federal investigation in the case. So there’s still a federal investigation; the results are still pending. When that concludes, I would imagine, whatever the findings are, it’s going to be a big deal. Either the findings are going to be “Hey, we’re ready to deal with the fact that we have a verifiable lynching for the first time in the U.S. that’s at least been proven since 1981,” or it’ll be something Trayvon Martin-ish. Then, it will still, hopefully, require and contribute to the ongoing national discourse that’s happening around race relations.
It’s about to be a year since—I’ll just go ahead and call it what it was—the lynching. It’s important to me that that song is released right around the time of the year anniversary of that incident. That’s what’s coming up next. I’ve got some really great people on that song. I’ve got Rhiannon Giddens, Caitlin Cary, Brett Harris, Skylar Gudasz, a bunch of familiar faces.
Jon Lindsay featuring American Aquarium and Caitlin Cary, "Dear Mr. McCrory"