Mickelson launches straight into the politics with the opening line of his new single: “I’ve got an itchy trigger-finger but I only kill with kindness.” With a driving bassline, foot-tapping beat and swirling electric guitars, ‘UNarmed American’ draws listeners in and forces them to engage with his message about gun violence and gun control. His thoughtful lyrics make it clear that he believes he speaks for a majority of Americans and that his views are not simply ‘anti-guns’. Rather, he feels that there must be solutions, ways of making everyone’s lives safer, and there needs to be a healthy debate on the topic that isn’t overwhelmed by money, powerful lobbyists or the loud voices of a small number of people.
Mickelson says of the song and video: “In America, the majority of people do not own guns however the minority holds all the control over gun rights and legislation. Despite the consistency of gun violence and the mass shooting in the U.S., there has been no meaningful gun legislation in 25 years. This is a clear example of money and politics being more important than people, even children! Our politicians refuse to take a stand. I wrote ‘UNarmed American’ to give a voice to the majority of Americans, including responsible gun owners, who believe we can have reasonable gun control laws and still exercise our freedom. It’s not one or the other. We can do both! When I produced the song, I had played and sang all the tracks. But after I mixed it I decided it needed to feel like many people were expressing themselves so I called ten other Bay Area artists to come to my studio and lend their voices. Sam Chase, Brad Brooks, Shannon Koehler, Jeremy Lyon, Jesse Brewster, Mick Shaffer, Josh Windmiller, Ken Newman, and Ben Morrison. Another lovely thing is that my daughter, Sadie Mickelson, participates in the video. The video was directed by Mike Sloat.”
The song features an absorbing melody, perfectly delivered with Mickelson’s characteristic gravelly tones. A real highlight is the combination of all those excellent voices Mickelson has gathered to support him. Collectively, they elevate the song, soaring in the choruses and making it feel like a protest. The combination of the layered vocals and instrumental textures, along with a tune that feels immediately familiar, is that ‘UNarmed American’ becomes anthemic. It’s a song that will translate well to live performances – look out for details of UK shows in February 2022 here. The accompanying video is set at a fair where those shooting are taken advantage of. It’s a reflection on a wealthy industry that exercises great influence and power in American political life.
‘UNarmed American’ is the first single from Mickelson’s upcoming fourth album, ‘Known To Be Unknown’, which is due for release on 15th April 2022. After years releasing albums with his band Fat Opie, battling illness and now achieving critical acclaim as with solo material, Scott Mickelson pours a lot of heart and experience into his songs. After being GRAMMY-balloted in two categories for his 2015 album, ‘Flickering’, he continues his high quality output with this single and we can look forward to more engaging tunes next year. Check this out.