The messages in David Rovics’ music aren’t exactly subtle. Even as far as protest musicians go, whose themes usually come crashing through like a cluster bomb from a fighter plane, the American’s anti-war sentiment overshadows his intricate rattling guitar in the most direct, unmistakeable fashion. And, you sense, it’s exactly how Rovics likes it.
New York-born Rovics is a folk protest musician for the modern day. With songs titles like Who Would Jesus Bomb? and Lebanon 2006, he’s not out to replicate the poetic undercurrent of Blowin’ in the Wind like Dylan – an artist he’s often compared to – but he’s perhaps more a Stateside version of Billy Bragg, practising a forthright, direct activism through music, all with an intimate, endearing quality, like he’s summoning you to the campfire for an old-fashioned man-with-an-acoustic-guitar storytelling session.
But he’s not just outspoken, he’s prolific. Over the last decade, he’s self-released a dozen albums, many of which, being an advocate of widespread file sharing, are available for free at Rovics’ Soundclick.com page. With so much music constantly being served up by the guitarist/singer/songwriter, it’s not easy to keep track of everything he’s advocating. Thankfully, his website (www.davidrovics.com), titled Songs of Social Significance, helpfully catalogues all his songs by topic, meaning you can easily see the breadth of Rovics’ diatribe subjects. Afghanistan, Iraq and George W. Bush all naturally warrant a shout, along with more surprising counterparts like anti-sprawl, bicycles, guerilla gardening, marijuana, pirates and Star Trek. We, for one, are glad someone’s finally identified Trekkies as a serious threat to global peace.
Tickets: Fringe Club; 2572 7251.
American protest folk Fringe Club, Friday 28