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Musicians Hail The Chiefs
Jun 17, 2008
Story by: Lyndsey Matthews
Songwriters Matthew Gerken (Nice Monster), Christian Kiefer and Jefferson Pitcher (formerly of Above The Orange Trees) have taken on the monumental task of composing and recording a song for each of the Presidents of the United States, all 43 of ’em! The project, Of Great And Mortal Men: 43 Songs For 43 Presidencies, will be released as a three-disc set from the Standard Recording Co. on September 9. The songs attempt to venture into the craniums of the heads of state, delivered through humorous and often critical monologues.
Even George Washington can’t dodge the songwriters’ biting satire, as he recalls the lies he told through his infamous dentures made of hippopotamus teeth. And oft-forgotten president Chester Arthur, the successor to the assassinated James Garfield, later compares himself to Washington, saying, “Old hippo-teeth, you got nothing on me.”
Not all the songs are hypercritical though. In “The Mighty Lion Will Not Roar Again,” Bill Clinton is portrayed as a second Noah who wishes to save the world. Yet few will be surprised by the songwriters’ treatment of George H.W. Bush and his links to Texas oil: “From the stalwart positions of Houston and friends is built a singular tradition: To desire more.” George W. is treated similarly in the simpleminded and self-righteous inner monologue of “Through The Night.”
The songs feature many guest artists including Bill Callahan, Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart, Low’s Alan Sparhawk, Mark Kozelek, Califone, Rosie Thomas and Cake’s Vince DiFiori. The 44th song will be released as a download when the 44th President is elected in November.