Joe Troop releases ‘Mercy for Migrants‘, another powerfully poignant track from his forthcoming album, ‘Borrowed Time‘.
As well as Troop’s rich, powerful vocal and plaintive fiddle, the track features the fabulous husband and wife banjo virtuosos, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, along with Trey Boudreaux on the bowed double bass. Washburn also adds some beautiful harmonies that provide yet another layer of pathos to what is already a deeply moving song.
The song is Troop’s plea for empathy for those trying to cross the US border searching for a better life, with the track inspired by a harrowing visit he made to the desert lands around the US border. “I wrote this piece after visiting the borderlands in 2019 with my band, Che Apalache. My friend and UCC pastor, Randy J. Mayer took us on a walk in the Southern Arizona desert to better understand what migrants go through. At one point we came upon a little white cross with sunglasses on it placed where the remains of an unknown 16 year old boy were found. That moment shook me to the core.”
The video was shot by Rode Díaz and Emily Rhyne as they went with Troop as he journeyed along both sides of the border wall through the Arizona desert, and during his stay at a migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, where he spent several weeks. The footage includes Troop joining other volunteers as they leave water supplies out in the desert for the desperate travellers. The video also shows the grim site of numerous makeshift crosses marking the graves of those who perished out in the desert, often just children, their identities unknown. “Desperate hopes of salvation // Forced you to leave your native land // Doomed was the road of migration // Left you to die out on the sands // Why aren’t we there for each other? // Mercy is for everyone.”
Along with the video, Troop is asking for donations for the migrant shelter in Nogales–La Casa de la Divina Misericordia y Todas las Naciones–where he’s previously helped out.