The Texas Gentlemen are a rock band based in Dallas
The band says musicians are getting more political in the age of Trump
Musicians seem to be getting more political in the age of President Donald Trump, as artists are turning to their social media platforms and their lyrics to express their political views.
CNN caught up with Dallas-based rock band The Texas Gentlemen last month at the SXSW music festival, where the collective of songwriters and musicians reflected on the political climate and how it has impacted songwriting.
“Right now, I’ve personally started writing stuff that leans into the political realm more,” Dan Creamer said. “It’s sort of a situation at this point where, to me, if you don’t say something, then you’re saying something.”
“Even if you don’t address it directly, you can’t live in this world right now and not be affected by the general sense of the way the world feels,” said Kirby Brown, one of the collective’s guest members. “Whether you’re being overtly political or a little bit more clandestine, it’s going to have an effect on what you write about.”
The Texas Gentlemen is made up of seven permanent members – Creamer, Beau Bedford, Ryan Ake, Wesley Geiger, Aaron Haynes, Nik Lee and Matt McDonald – and several guest members, including Brown, Jonathan Tyler, Sam Anderson, Dave Matsler, Nate Wedan, Brandon Pinckard, Jordan Cain and Jeffrey Saenz.
They started out as a studio band that played back-up for other artists, but they recently transitioned into live performances. Most notably, the musicians backed country music legend Kris Kristofferson at the Newport Folk Festival last summer.
Kristofferson made his debut at the Rhode Island festival back in 1969, where he played guitar for Johnny Cash.
“We love and honor the musical history that our nation has brought about,” Bedford said. “We love getting into the old school history and tapping into our roots,” he added, referencing timeless American musicians like Billy Preston, Harry Nilsson and Willie Nelson.
The Texas Gentlemen recorded their upcoming album, which is out in July, at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, where legendary artists such as Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Percy Sledge recorded some of their greatest songs.
Although each member of the band has his own unique views, the Texas Gentlemen identify with progressive political views.
“We are lucky. Every person in this group is lucky,” Bedford said. “We’re white, male, born in America. That’s absurd.”
“And for us to sit back and pretend like we can lord over other people because we were blessed in this situation is just a falsehood,” he added, referencing Trump’s executive action on immigration, which bans immigration from six Muslim-majority countries and reinstates a temporary blanket ban on all refugees.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to examine the legality of the executive order in May.
In a country based on immigration, it’s wrong for the US to close its doors to “people that are being harmed in different countries,” Bedford said.
“We are pro-people, pro-human beings. We do believe that every life on this planet actually matters,” Bedford said.