The Corner


My recent attempts to identify great conservative rock songs have compelled a handful of right-leaning musicians to get in touch.

First, we have Dave Shiflett of the folksy Karma Farmers, based in Richmond, Va. Dave is probably best known to readers to NRO as a smart and funny writer — see this piece, for example, from the Wall Street Journal. It turns out that Dave also sings and plays guitar. That makes him practically a Renaissance Man in my book. (He writes books, too.) The new album is called Songs for Aging Cynics:

If you don’t like Madonna (the singer, not the Mother of Jesus), check out track 8 (Old Man Moan) and if you’re anti-war, check out track 5 (Virgins in Heaven). There are songs about going to heaven, going to sea, going nowhere, falling through thin air, growing old, leaving town and one of the most beautiful songs you’ll ever hear about despair (Take My Dreams Away).

Next, we have Peter Melaragno, from Florida. He recommends a song called “9/12″ which is about the day after September 11. It’s a free download at his website:

It’s not a rock song, but it was written by a conservative singer/songwriter (me) and I feel confident you will enjoy it.

Speaking of 9/11 (sort of), next we have Red September:

If only I’d know you were compiling your list of conservative rock songs, I could’ve tried to play the homeboy card (I’m from Royal Oak, MI) and suggested several songs by my band, Red September, from our 2001 album “Wake Up Call” (FYI: the band name dates from 1984 and the title was locked for two years prior to 9/11) which would definitely not earn us a spot on the cover of Time or Rolling Stone.

Try “Graffiti” (sample lyric: Not weakness, but a disease/With that excuse do as you please…You celebrate your latest score/While you watch your friends die on the floor); “WWW” (about Internet addiction); “Taken In” (totalitarian government rounds people up); “Killjoy” (about nanny govt. types); “Living In Oblivion” (generational warfare); “#1 With A Bullet” (kids with guns); “My God (Can Beat Up Your God)” (religious arrogance)…heck, try the whole thing!

Red September’s album is available on iTunes, and I like what I’ve heard, especially “Graffiti”

and a cover of New Model Army’s “Stupid Questions.”

Finally, Peter Van Horn writes:

I am absolutely a conservative rock and roll singer/musician from Salt Lake City Utah. I just Released My C.D. “Head Space” with the opening track “Shut up and play”. I’m sure you’ll find the lyrics humorous and very poignant. The next track “You give it all away” was written following the presidential debates and points out, at least to those paying attention, the utter transparancy of the lies of the left. Please see my web site; to hear samples of my music. As you can imagine, I don’t get much help from mainstream media in promoting my music or values. That’s quite alright by me though because I have complete control and freedom over the content. I support our troops 100% and I would love more than anything to take! my band to where ever they are and thank them personally.

Rock on, rockcons!

John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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