Nashville musician QUINN DEVEAUX has just written and released the soulful blues song “Holiday,” offering a musical look into his sense of grief and loss and the passionate need for positive change during these uncertain times. Referencing the 14 year old black child who was brutally murdered in 1955 for offending a white woman, Quinn sings, “I can’t forget the face of Emmett Till / And all the faces they take from us still,” in honor of the child’s lasting impact on the Civil Rights’ movement. Quinn’s poignant track provides even more power by the accompanying video of his weighty and heartfelt solo performance.
A song that chronicles the crimes and injustices lodged on African Americans throughout the ages, “Holiday” is a song that resonated heavily with him as he wrote it. Quinn explains to American Songwriter (HERE) who premiered the video today, “I had the melody and theme for ‘Holiday’ a while ago, around when Tamir Rice was murdered in 2014 by Timothy Loehmann [who mistook the 12yo’s toy gun for a real one]. Whenever I would hear about a black person being murdered by police or profiling/random/racist gunman, a little piece of the song would come to me and then a little more. When I heard about George Floyd [whose recent death at the hands of a Minneapolis cop sparked the current #blacklivesmatter riots], I finished the song. The systemic racism people of color face is ever present and I wanted the song to be true to that fact. I wrote several more verses that I may add later, but these are the verses I was feeling most in this moment. Unfortunately, it does feel like a song that I may be adding to. But I am greatly heartened by the conversations I have been a part of about how to move forward making communities more safe for people of color. I have also been glad to see efforts in Minneapolis and elsewhere in the country where legislators are being pressured to make changes to the structure of the police force. But the underlying problem carries on.”
The video features Quinn in his home in Oakland, playing the solemn blues track on acoustic guitar while plaintively singing, “it ain’t changing fast enough for me.” Unfortunately, it’s a timeless song that would ring true in Emmett Till’s day as well as in the current modern climate of social injustice. Quinn knows all too well the need for moral and spiritual awakening in society and hopes this is finally a transformative moment.
“I am working on a new record that includes ‘Holiday’ and other songs that are a bit smaller in scope. I wanna tell more personal stories, and it’s surprising how hard that is to do. It seems like telling your own story would be easier, but I find getting to the truth of my own experience is a trying exercise and I get drained and have to start over constantly. A song like ‘Holiday’ is pain I’ve felt for years, and anger I’ve felt for years, frustration and love I’ve known for years, and to wake up every day and expect yourself to pull it all out is tough. But over time, you get somewhere. I hope that we can keep the pressure on these lawmakers and keep having these conversations with each other. This is the best way to start making it safe for people of color in America.”