William McCarthy - Ballad for the Unemployed

Song of the Day
Hosted by John Richards
Today's Song of the Day, as chosen by John Richards, host of The Morning Show on KEXP, is "Ballad for the Unemployed" by William McCarthy, a 2020 self-released single.
photo by alley rutzel (view set)
written by Janice Headley

As the frontman for Pela and Augustines, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter William McCarthy has never shied away from difficult topics. (Augustine's 2011 album Rise Ye Sunken Ships was influenced by the deaths of his mother and brother.) 

As a solo artist, McCarthy continues to explore darker subjects in his music, like on today's featured track “Ballad for the Unemployed.“ On his Facebook page, he writes: 

More than 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past four weeks, a rapid and unprecedented deterioration in our U.S. economy that the nation has decided is necessary to combat the deadly coronavirus by keeping as many people as possible at home.

I wrote this song long before this was our reality, and ironically it has become a chilling battle cry for what we are living through. The character in the song is an unemployed man that feels his country has repeatedly failed him and is in self imposed quarantine bleakly obsessing over motivational speaker Tony Robbins, who has become his imaginary friend.

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