[26 February 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
The many North Carolina artists who contribute songs to We Are Not For Sale call themselves, collectively, the North Carolina Music Love Army. Their release comes at the end of a long year in the state, where the legislature passed bills cutting funding to public education and unemployment funds, denying expansion of health care, as well as limiting voting and reproductive rights. The legislature’s actions were sweeping and extremist. We Are Not For Sale serves as a plainspoken, passionate soundtrack to the weekly protests that happened through most of the summer last year, and makes plain its complaints.
Django Haskins’ title track is a classic protest song, challenging the bloat and greed of the government. Snuzz’s “North Carolina, We’re Better Than This” is a call to action, a reminder of better days. “My Body Politic” is a beautiful declaration of defiance against restricted reproductive rights by Caitlin Cary and Shirlette Ammons. The album not only protests, but also represents many historical genres of protest music, from R&B and hip-hop (“My Body Politic”) to humor and talkin’ blues (Billy Sugarfix’s “Abraham Lincoln in His Grave”) and even religion’s role in opposition (Hiss Golden Messenger’s “Every Knee Shall Bow”). It pushes past the folk we expect and gives us a myriad of voices, speaking in unison against change unauthorized by the people. It’s a powerful sound all the way through.