Cass McCombs gathered an unlikely cast of collaborators — Bob Weir, Angel Olsen, and Noam Chomsky — to help out on his new song, “Don’t (Just) Vote.”
The track is a remake of McCombs’ 2009 song “Don’t Vote” (from his album Catacombs), in which he tackles and tries to counter the apathy that can often keep people from going to the polls. The verses find McCombs and Olsen — with Weir providing back-up — listing all the things people can vote for, both serious and light, while the track ends with a spoken-word statement from Chomsky: “We have to excise a malignant cancer from the body politic. But that’s just the beginning. Real politics is what you do before and after you push the lever. You have to keep your shoulder to the wheel: engagement, activism, organizing — that’s what will make the difference.”
In a statement, McCombs said of the song: “I was compelled to write something for the election and I thought of no better way than to troll myself, laying waste to a much-misunderstood song of mine from over a decade ago, ‘Don’t Vote.’ Most people never made it much further than the title, anyway. For this new song, ‘Don’t (Just) Vote,’ the message is clear: Vote, yes, but when you do, imagine the world you would like to see, beyond what appears on your ballot. Harness your imagination and justice becomes inevitable.”
McCombs will donate all royalties after cost from “Don’t (Just) Vote” to the organization Elevate Oakland, which helps fund music education programs in the Oakland area.
McCombs released his most recent album, Tip of the Sphere, last year. In May, he released a new song, “The Wine of Lebanon.”