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The album's title track pulls off a difficult trick: it makes visible the members of our economy who are rarely seen. Over David's mourning guitar and her own reluctant guitar strum, Letitia confesses how she lives her life “in clothing sewn in crowded rooms, eating food picked by weary bones” and wonders how her own feet and hands would respond “if they ever had a row to hoe.” “I feel terrible about wearing clothes made in sweat shops,” she says, “eating food picked by exploited laborers and driving a car powered by oil stolen by force. The point of our economy should be to meet human needs, so why don’t we do that better?” On the bridge, where she asks, “Is there anywhere on God's green earth where I can pull my weight?” she unveils a gorgeous melody line that rises above and beyond all its folk antecedents.

lyrics

In clothing sewn in crowded rooms
Eating food picked by weary bones
At table cleaned by tired feet
A meal served from fatigue

I act like it’s my birth right
To stumble round like a drunken fool
But some know this is hallowed ground
Don’t deserve our dirty boots

Well I wonder where those feet would go
Wonder what those hands would do
If they ever had a row to hoe and a moment to choose
Well move along, don’t care where you go
But we need this sidewalk clear
Loose parts in the back of some forgotten drawer

Is there anywhere on God’s green earth that I can pull my weight
A place for everyone and everyone in his place

I buit a house of mud and straw
It cracked in the freeze and thaw
So I retreat on my knees
To the city I withdraw

Someday the Lord will open all the doors
All the bells a-ringing true
A place at every table waiting there just for you

Well all we are is parts and labor
To this engine’s indifferent hum
Scrape the bottom of the barrell

credits

from Parts & Labor, released February 27, 2015
recorded & mixed by Alex Champagne of Scenic Route Recordings at Negative Space Studios. DMW on piano

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Letitia VanSant Baltimore, Maryland

Letitia VanSant & the Bonafides are a Baltimore & Washington, DC -based quartet that straddle the boundary between acoustic string band music, roots rock, and the confessional folk of a singer-songwriter.

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