On her new single, country single Kelsey Waldon is making known her support of social justice with a cover of Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn,” a song with its roots in the civil rights movement. She performs “Mississippi Goddamn” alongside gothic blues singer Adia Victoria and R&B folk singer Kyshona Armstrong. This cover previews her upcoming EP They’ll Never Keep Us Down, which is entirely covers circling themes of social justice.
Waldon told NPR, “Today in 2020, as we push for progress, sometimes it still feels like we are going backwards . . . Nina was a southern woman herself, born in North Carolina. Adia and Kyshona are both from the Carolinas, and I think like Nina, they have a perspective that needs to be heard as Black Southern women.”
The cover slows the tempo but keeps the same electricity as the original. The slightly slower pace allows the meaning of the lyrics cut deep. Waldon adds a twang of country and a whole lot of passion in her interpretation of the song. The sound of strings and twang of a banjo add dimension to the song. The strong message is brought out by the powerful voices of the three women, making it more of a rallying cry; after all, there is strength in numbers. The final lingering “goddamn” sung by Walden is not hopeless but pensive, compared to Simone’ flourish of the voice in singing the last note. Nina Simone’s spirit is alive in these women.
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