"In our hearts, we hold the Future."--Shar Leahy
From soft and soothing to raspy anger, singer and guitarist extraordinaire Shar Leahy, a feminist and peace activist, invokes the sixties folk tradition to protest, console, and remind us of incomprehensible evils. She offers us faith in the good--despite everything, everything. I call her "my Joan Baez." But she writes her own lyrics and melodies in addition to singing like an angel, as MLK once complimented Joan Baez.
Shar's own heroes are Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, among others, as she details, with a kudos from Pete, on her webpage rumorsofpeace.net , where you may also read her blog and laudatory reactions to her previous cd,"Rumors of Peace," which I reviewed in 2011 at https://www.opednews.com/articles/Sharleen-Leahey-Back-to-t-by-Marta-Steele-110405-721.html.
Pete Seeger wrote that unlike many, Shar's songs contribute to the survival of the human race [how prescient!]. On her webpage, Shar recalls that "Pete and I co-edited songs4peace magazine from 1994 to 1999. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to work with him."
Shar's new cd "For the 99," seven original songs (see album illustration at the end of this review), deconstructs militarism, inequality, racism, and mad rulers with feminism and love; captures life and how to survive, including a tribute to the women suffragists who fought for our franchise, today a dicey, totally violated terrain for all of us 99ers. Nonetheless we must continue to fight, she implores, leaning on the suffragists' example. Indeed, more women in this country than men vote and these days many women are running for political office at all levels, and so Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Stanton might be gratified. Especially after Election 2018: we now have more than 100 women representing us in Congress--all of us.
Susan B. Anthony famously once said "Failure is Impossible," Shar reassuringly writes.
Does handing more power to women offer hope for the future of our planet? In the song "The Woman's Suffrage Song," Shar says yes: "Millions of women are coming to know/That the fate of Mother Earth/Depends on our mobilization. . . .
"We gotta fight."
And who are "good people"? Shar wonders in another song. Bigots? Push-button cowards who murder innocent people from safe distances halfway around the world? "This ain't the '30s/It's the new millennium time," she sings, and yet we're back to bread lines. "Where are the good people?"
As the first song, "Love Is the Root" affirms that love "is the root," "sets us free," "is the truth," and "our destiny," the final one, "For the 99" promises that "no corporate dark design/Can quell or undermine/The fire that burns inside." We're "never feeling more alive"; "No tyrant's clever lies/Can stop our rise."
Shar describes her music as "folk-rock for the 99."
Reassurance at a time when we so need it. When a style works, it works. The spirit of the sixties is with us and we need it to plow on, fortified and renewed by it. "For the 99" will be released early next year. Watch for it and order it at Shar's webpage or on Amazon.