Amanda Palmer

“Mother” — Amanda Palmer & Jherek Bischoff (Pink Floyd Cover)

“Mother” — Amanda Palmer & Jherek Bischoff (Pink Floyd Cover)

Sounds Like:

The vulgarity of the year 2017, sweetened by ballet.

Why You Should Care:

Amanda Palmer began her career as an eclectic street artist, going from living statue to a punk pianist in the Dresden Dolls, to best-selling author. She is a vocal proponent of crowdfunding and other communal approaches to art, and never shy of controversy. With this video adaptation of a Pink Floyd classic, she outdoes herself (and unhinges our jaws) once again. “Mother” is not necessarily Palmer’s most shocking creation. She has a history of exploring darker themes (drugs, depression, death) with her share of blood, nudity, and profanity. But with “Mother” she reaches a new height of authenticity, merging her experience of motherhood (she and author Neil Gaiman had their first child in 2015) with the current American political and sociological climate.

Palmer has recast Roger Waters’ 38-year-old lyrics to address the literal and figurative “walls” of today and celebrate the role of motherhood in tearing them down. In hushed, motherly tones, backed by Jherek Bischoff’s fervid string arrangements, she frames the lyrics as a conversation between the President and his own deceased mother. Palmer and Bischoff are joined by dancers and instrumentalists, both adult and children, who seem to intentionally share a common life-giving, nurturing spirit.

The video and ballet end with Palmer breastfeeding a Trump-like character…you might just have to watch it to understand. Palmer dedicated this composition to the current administration, saying, “You will not build walls in our children’s hearts.” “Mother” holds its own as a protest song, but as a visual masterpiece, it may be Palmer’s most important work thus far, from one of the 21st century’s premier artist-activists.


LIVE: 2013 Newport Folk Festival Wrapup

LIVE: 2013 Newport Folk Festival Wrapup

The Newport Folk Festival, one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) and most successful festivals in the US turned 54 this year. With that much legacy, this festival has a lot to live up to. And with the very definition of “folk” changing, traditionalists are still ready to shake their heads with disapproval to any deviation to the established ways. But it’s not just the genre that’s changing: everything is changing. Festivals have become a major draw for both audiences and bands as a way to gain broad exposure to well-established and up-and-coming bands alike, so it’s with no surprise that Newport is changing as well.

Father John Misty opened his set on Saturday witah a sarcastic rant saying that he’d been invited because he was white, had a beard and played a few acoustic guitars on his record, yet before his performance was even halfway over you could wander to another stage to catch the decidedly un-folky Trombone Shorty. The following day, soul crooner Michael Kiwanuka, delivered a thrilling set, Cold Specks astounded the crowd with herself described “doom soul, and Tuareg guitarist/singer/songwriter Bombino gained a whole new legion of fans with his high-energy guitar rock. All of which is to say, that on the grounds of Fort Adams the term “folk” can indeed mean many different things.