Robert J Releases Protest Song and Video with an All-Star Cast of Local Greats

Recent News 22 May 2018

Robert J America

Robert J Releases Protest Song and Video with an All-Star Cast of Local Greats


Robert J will celebrate the release of “America (Oh, Say Can You See” on Memorial Day, May 28th at Christy’s Landing, a traditional annual event for Robert and his band the Moon Gypsies. They will perform from 2-6pm.

Help your local artists by purchasing their music: “America (Oh, Say Can You See) can be purchased here.

“I Stand up now for a more perfect Union.” – Robert J


It is the duty of the artist to reflect our humanity. Whether it be the beauty or ferocity of the forces of nature, the exaltation or the despairs of love, or the heroic deeds or the epic foibles of humankind. The protest song, in particular, is concerned with the last of these. Since the advent of the human voice, the stories have been passed on but with the rise of the industrialized world and increasingly more effective streams of distribution, the protest song form has had significant impact.

It seems that with humankind, there are always opposite forces at play. Where there is opportunity for all to advance, there is opportunity for avarice. Contradiction is deeply woven into the human existence. With democracy hanging on by a thread, racism making a shocking comeback and evil acts being cheered on by the religious, America is in crisis mode with few alarm bells. As I write this the country has just suffered its 22nd school shooting this year. The conservative Supreme Court thrust a dagger into the New Deal with its employee arbitration ruling and the Presidency is embroiled in constitutional crisis. Dark days. Or as Robert J sings in “America (Oh, Say Can You See),” “Welcome to the new Dark Ages.”

An all-star cast helped out on the recording of the song including Mauro Magellan on drums, Mary Gaines on bass and vocals, Chris Wagoner on lap steel and vocals, David Cox on backing vocals, Mike Massey on piano, Dave Adler on organ, Tony Castaneda on congas and Pauli Ryan on percussion. The track was mixed by Mike Zirkel.


Not only did he pen and record the song over recent months, Robert J produced a slick and effective video which was produced by NORMCO Multi-Media, Inc. Take a look:

I’ve known Robert J since he first came to Madison in the Eighties; we work closely together now on the MAMA Cares project. I know how long and how hard he’s worked on this. For months I’ve heard about his efforts on this one song, which amplifies its importance. I remember him saying how he had something like thirty-six verses and was struggling to condense it down into a more digestible length. If that doesn’t speak to you of the gravity of the situation, you’re running with the ostriches.

← 2019 MAMA Award Winners Why Vote in the MAMA Awards? →

About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

Leave A Reply

Comments are closed