It’s a Dog’s Life (Strictly Country Records)
Si Kahn represents what folk music used to be about—standing up for the little guy, railing against injustice. Following the path of Woody Guthrie and his late friend, Pete Seeger, he has spent as much of his life as a community organizer as performing and recording, which, thankfully, he is still doing.
Kahn has again teamed up with the Looping Brothers, a hot bluegrass band from the hills and hollers of Germany and Holland, and it’s replete with hot picking and social justice. And it’s topical, too.
The opening track, Government On Horseback, is about the president turning “our country’s honour white again,” returning to the days when the government ran on testosterone and it’s “back to home for mommies”.
Using his effective blend of empathy and dark humour, Kahn sings about the hard life of shrimp fishers, a family afflicted with cancer from asbestos in the shipyards, and a proposal to auction off the White House like a farm because they’ve overspent their credit. It’s not all political: he also sings of spending the day with the dog, hanging out at the general store, and running into old friends after decades.
The Looping Brothers—Ulli Sicker, Matthias Malcher, and Ralf Strotmann—are a perfect foil for Kahn, providing hot instrumental picking and tight vocal harmonies. It’s uplifting to hear bluegrass played in the service of a more just world.