Eli Gardiner’s latest album, The Fire and the Medicine, has some serious political and personal underpinnings because as Eli explained, the personal is political these days. To say anything is to be political and Eli is comfortable embracing the role.
Eli has a unique perspective. He’s originally from a small town in Upper Peninsula, Michigan. A beautiful area, but one with a different political makeup than Minneapolis. He moved here after a four year stint in Richmond Virginia.
I was especially interested to hear the backstory on Tattered and Town, the songs and the powerful video. Eli wrote the song soon after the 2016 election. He talks about the misappropriation of the American flag as some have held onto it as a symbol of white America, which is not as intended. The video (shown below) is a montage of public domain videos and two videos Eli captured on civil unrest in the last 50-60 years from the March on Selma to Aztec dancers at the George Floyd Memorial. A recognition that we are still fighting the fights of the 1960s. We need to fight harder.
He has received mixed feedback; we daydreamed a bit about an opportunity to use these songs as a jumping board to start conversations because music makes a sound that can be louder than politics. We might just find a way to make that work.
We also talked about The Right and the Wrong, which includes the line, “They don’t know; they don’t care.” Seems so aligned with those of us who are overwhelmed or under-curious in the world, but started as a song about playing solo shows where he wondered in anyone was listening. The personal is political – to the writer and the reader, the singer and the audience.
Eli may have some opportunities for future shows. He has a vision for a video for Eaten Alive. And it sounds like there are plans for a regular night for streaming in the near-ish future. Follow him on social media to keep up on the news and happenings.