Southern bluegrass outfit Old Crow Medicine Show have released a new song and music video titled “Pray For America,” which is a sincere effort inspired by the country’s current events. The song calls for God to “have mercy” during these difficult times, in reference to the ongoing civil unrest following the death of George Floyd and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pray For America” is a straightforward country song, which the band’s Ketch Secor, who wrote the song, said was inspired by “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land.” While the song’s lyrical imagery are divine yet ambiguous, the music video is a lot more politically visible.
This video opens up with one of the band member’s writing “Pray For America” on a sign, followed by images of other people holding signs quoting statistics which reference the current unemployment figures, figures which show the racial divide in the US legal system, figures critical of US foreign interventions and a final statistic showing how the US has the most prisoners in the world.
“When you write music you’re trying to make universal statements,” Secor stated regarding the song. “Songs are for all to enjoy, and if you’re doing your job, they should to be able to translate from a global pandemic to a cry for justice.”
Secor plays fiddle, harmonica, guitar and banjo for the band, in addition to his role as a vocalist. Other members include Cory Younts on mandolin and vocals, Morgan Jahnig on bass, Joe Andrews on guitar, dobro and vocals Robert Price on guitjo, glockenspiel and vocals and Jerry Pentecost on drums and vocals. Their album Volunteer came out in 2018, the same year former member Chance McCoy released “Lonesome Pine.”