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Back Beat

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

The Jackson-Hole-by-way-of-New-York indie-acoustic soul outfit Benyaro, featuring Ben Musser and Leif Routman, has been through Eugene several times before, but this time the duo is rolling through on its “Get Out the Vote” tour — partnering with Rock the Vote and HeadCount organizations — even if that means performing a day after the election, Nov. 9, with Idaho’s country-rock heartbreaker Jeff Crosby at the post-election party at Axe & Fiddle in Cottage Grove; free.

 Benyaro will be toting along an interesting, controversial new single, “Too Many Men,” recorded with producer Danny Kadar (who worked on Samantha Crain’s Songs in the Night and The Avett Brothers’ Emotionalism). As the band wrote on its website Oct. 26: “Our ‘Too Many Men’ music video has proven to be too provocative for any media outlet to publish.” Adding that, “We realize we’re going out on a limb, but we feel strongly about using our art to speak up. There is so much to discuss and so few artists are provoking political discussion. This is our attempt. The video’s intense, but stick with it and we hope you’ll feel moved.”

Perhaps the backlash to Benyaro’s video illustrates how far the center of this country has swung to the right, politically, as the music video is merely a montage of images of stuff, that, well, has actually happened, such as: video and images of Donald Trump speaking to the NRA — chumming up alongside NRA super-villain Wayne LaPierre, video game violence, animal violence, school shooters, the Pulse nightclub shooter, the shooter of the Charlotte church, the Supreme Court, neo Nazis heil-ing God knows what, W. glad-handing the Saudis, Jerry Sandusky and Hillary Clinton. 

Sure it’s a little ham-fisted at times. Musser and Routman sing in one verse “War, and greed, clichés/ But always been strong/ And the boys have led the chorus in song/ Nobody seems to ask/ When will we move on from too many men.” 

But they do have a point. Men commit the majority of violent acts; there are not two sides to that statistic. So yeah, maybe more men and women reflecting on that is not such a bad thing, especially in a country that is more willing to put brutal violence on screens than a boob or a butt cheek. Watch the “Too Many Men” video here.

And by the time Benyaro arrive at the Axe & Fiddle, we’ll know just how far right, or center right, the country has really swung.