The funk Texas band shed light on the civil rights movement and how some things never change.
In the landscape of political turmoil and personal accountability, music has become the conduit for change, more than ever before. "It's a new day, and a better day's coming. Well, now who you gonna trust?" implores the opening line of Skull Snaps' 1973 track, lifted from their one and only studio album. The funk song is a declaration of freedom in the aftermath of the civil rights movement and amidst continued racism and segregation in America. Flyjack, a groove outfit out of Austin, are now refocusing the lens, given the detrimental actions of the current President Elect. "'It's a New Day' is special. When we started Flyjack, our mission was to perform obscure funk – what DJs sometimes refer to as 'deep funk.' As a genre, it refers to music created by small regional funk bands in the 60's and 70's--groups that people might know through hip-hop music because so many of their records have been sampled," shares guitarist and singer Buck McKinney about the song--Flyjack's revamped version gets a grainy, filtered visual, soaked with civil rights footage from yesteryear and today.
"You can't get much better than 'It's a New Day.' As far as we know, nobody has ever released a proper cover of the song, which is a shame because it is so much more than a drum break," he continues, citing the many samples of the song's iconic, well-versed drum break. "It's about the dangers of apathy and the importance of political activism, and the lyrics are powerful."
Flyjack is also comprised of Brad Bradburn (bass/vocals), Nigel Finley (keys/vocals), Andy Rumelt (keys/harmonica/guitar), Jeremy Portwood (drums/vocals), Mike Shields (trumpet), Ari Dvorin (sax), William Wright (trombone) and Wyatt Corder (trumpet).
The band were originally expected to drop their own version of "It's a New Day" late last year. "As scary as things were, I got the sense that people were waking-up and trying to be more involved. From the Women's March to social media, they seemed to be responding in a way that suggested had we only done this sooner, maybe we wouldn't be in the spot we're in now," McKinney expounds. "We got together with local director Ray Schlogel to talk about the video and told him that we wanted to try to connect those events with what was happening when the Skull Snaps originally released [the song]. Ray was all over it and dug through archival footage to intersperse it into a live performance video of the band, along with footage from the 2016 presidential campaign and beyond."
It's a pivotal moment in time, when the activists on the right side of history will be remembered forever for their hard work in bringing awareness and change to the things that truly do matter. "Seeing the video, you could argue that things really haven't changed all that much, and I think that's why the song is so important. Our shared tradition of protest--of standing up for what we believe is right--is a vital part of the human experience, regardless of the challenges we face. Together, we really can make a 'new day.' We just have to give a damn: vote, speak out, get involved," McKinney concludes.
"It's a New Day" is lifted from Flyjack's third studio album, the just-released New Day LP.
Watch the clip below:
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