The story song isn’t really a thing anymore, although it is entrenched in American culture tied to protest, the 1970s, and–you know–Country music. Californian musician Cass McCombs is carrying the story song torch on with the release of his politically charged “Bradley Manning,” a song released earlier this year that tells the complicated story of Army officer Bradley Manning, who leaked confidential information to WikiLeaks in 2010.
It’s a fairly sad song as Manning’s story is a difficult one, caught somewhere between hero and villain–not to mention an LGBTQ icon/foe of sorts. The song certainly expresses concern for Manning, lending a sympathetic hand to this person caught between a whistleblower and a communist. McCombs and Domino just released a video for the song today, which was directed by Bradley Beesley. The video shares the story of a young boy growing up in the rural America, in the shadow of the Armed Forces and patriotism and Americana hullaballoo. It’s a stark juxtaposition to Bradley, who is now awaiting trail while also a nominee for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. It’s a very interesting story and interesting song that is more about the substance than being something you’d jam out to. Major props to McCombs for getting nearly every angle of Manning’s story into a four minute song.