Rich Jones and producer Montana Macks, both Chicago-based artists and community figures, will release their new album, How do you sleep at night? on October 30th. Today, they release its title track, following lead single “Groceries” (with Mykele Deville). Jones ruminates on today’s present social climate over loose percussion. The chorus flows with subtle brass, asking a question that Jones often pondered as this year brought more bad news heaped upon bad news, and few answers on how to turn it around: “How do you sleep at night?”
“I wrote this song in the days following some friends and others being injured by the CPD at a rally downtown [Chicago],” Jones says. “While this wasn’t the first time this had happened last summer, it especially pissed me off following weeks of listening to our mayor bold face lie again and again about how these officers had shown professionalism and restraint. What happened to my friends isn’t my story to tell but I’ll just say that restraint and professionalism are not the words I would use in the slightest. Throw in several months worth of being bombarded with disinformation regarding the pandemic and our futures via leadership in D.C. and I hope you’d understand why I felt and still feel pressed! It’s made me thoroughly question the motives and consciences of those we’ve elected to work for US. How come it’s so easy to get in front of a mic and lie day in and day out? How do you sit with yourself? How do you sleep at night? Unfortunately, I fear they do so far too soundly.”
On the album as a whole, Jones elaborates:
“There are some wildly bad actors at this moment, but it’s not just bombastic shit heads or calmly ghoulish pragmatists who deserve a solid boot to the ass (and boy do they ever). It’s the unbothered and unconcerned, those who choose to have no opinion at all and go about life as if everything is just ‘great.’ I don’t know, maybe life has turned me overly sour, but I have a hard time getting geeked about brunch or whatever while police kill with impunity, and we not so quietly descend into a fascistic nightmare. It all feels a little too Cabaret, and I have no interest in tuning any of it out or having delusions of normalcy.
Since I started working in earnest on this, I’ve had some pretty rough days. Watching in horror as strangers and friends alike have been brutalized by our local police and then hearing politicians and their commanders praise them for their “professionalism and restraint,” will do that. The same goes for all those struggling to keep their businesses afloat while aid that would truly sustain them is still less than idea even after we’ve seen how the pandemic is ravaging them. It’s just plain not right, and it pisses me off. However – it’s been some solace to put how I feel down, an audio diary of sorts to remind me what’s happened, keep my head in the fight, and double down on how I can be the best friend and comrade to those who need it. My hope is that it inspires you to do the same because Lord knows we need more people to step up if we’re going to have any shot of turning the tide.”