American singer/songwriter Cass McCombs has released a new track called “Don’t (Just) Vote,” which is a reimagined version of his 2011 song “Don’t Vote.” Produced by Sam Cohen and Joe Russo, the re-worked tune also features guest vocal performances from Angel Olsen, Noah Chomsky and Bob Weir (of the Grateful Dead).
The song has a meandering but powerful vibe throughout as subtle electric guitar riffs strum over simple drum patterns. The various vocal performances are an emotional highlight of the track as they plead for listeners to “Vote for change or pay the price.”
Discussing his latest song, McCombs says the upcoming presidential election was the perfect opportunity to revise his 2011 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,’” McCombs explains. “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.”
According to a press release, McCombs has long been known “for social activism and politically-focused songs throughout his career.” As for his live performances supporting activism, McCombs performed at the benefit concerts Occupy Wall Street and People’s Climate March in 2014 with the Chapin Sisters as well as the 51st People’s Park Anniversary in Berkeley, CA with Bongo Sidibe in 2020.
In May of this year, McCombs released the single “The Wine of Lebanon.” The song’s video was filmed in January and sees the rocker visiting resting places of iconic artists like Ritchie Valens, Etta James, Merle Haggard and Darby Crash. Upon its release, the track was hailed as a Song You Need to Know by Rolling Stone magazine.