Over The Rhine – If a Song Could Be President

Wat een schitterende titel voor een nummer: If A Song Could Be President. Het is geschreven door singer/songwriter & gitarist Linford Detweiler van de Amerikaanse folkband Over The Rhine, waarin zijn echtgenote Karin Bergquist de zangeres en ook songwriter is.

De inspiratie voor het lied kwam van een bezoek aan het Witte Huis in 2005. Ze waren uitgenodigd door George Bush en ook al waren ze het niet eens met het beleid van diens regering, ze besloten toch te gaan. “We soon realized that what was so often missing from the current political climate in America were opportunities for folks who might have differing ideas to sit down face to face and actually engage in real conversation. (…) American music is one of the last remaining communal enterprises in this country. Music and songwriting still have the potential to bring incredibly diverse people together.”

Het lied komt van hun album The Trumpet Child uit 2007. De groep Over The Rhine werd opgericht in 1989 door Detweiler & Bergquist. De naam is afkomstig van de wijk Over The Rhine in de stad Cincinnatti in de staat Ohio. Ze traden o.a. op met Bob Dylan, John Prine & The Cowboy Junkies.

If a song could be president
If a song could be president,
we’d hum on Election Day
The gospel choir would start to sway,
and we’d all have a part to play.

The First Lady would free her hips.
Pull a microphone to her lips.
Break our hearts with rhythm & blues.
Steve Earle would anchor the news.

We’d vote for a melody.
Pass it around on an MP3.
All our best foreign policy,
would be built on harmony.

If a song could be president,
we’d fly a jukebox to the moon.
All our founding fathers forty five’s.
Lightnin’ Hopkins and Patsy Cline.
If a song could be president.

If a song could be president,
we could all add another verse.
Life would teach us to rehearse,
’til we found a key change.

Break out of this minor key.
Half truths and hypocrisy.
We wouldn’t need an underachiever-in-chief.
If a song could be president.

We’d make Neil Young a Senator,
even though he came from Canada.
Emmy Lou would be Ambassador.
World leaders would listen to her.

They would show us
where our country went wrong.
Strum their guitars on the White House lawn.
John Prine would run the FBI.
All the criminals would laugh and cry.
If a song could be president.

Tom Waits for Secretary of State.
And maybe even Bob Dylan
would take a seat on the UN.