Top 25 Songs Honoring the Women's March of Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women and their supporters took the first steps of protest on Saturday, January 21, 2017 as marchers took to the streets in all fifty states in the U.S., and continued the line around the world. The numbers vary, though one look could see that the bodies in Washington, D.C. far outnumbered the rows and rows of empty seats for the inauguration on Friday Jan. 20. It can safely be said that the worldwide stats went well over the millions mark, with the Chicago figures causing the cancellation of the march due to safety concerns. The universal message was clear no matter what the numbers say as marching feet took on the role of fingers and fists raised in defiance. The power of the people served the government notice….we are here and we are watching. Pink was the color of the day for hats as all races came together to take a stand.

The Alternate Root congratulates the marchers in the only way we know how…music. The Top 25 list of voices spans decades and is told in the voices of the women behind the songs. The list is a sampling, and the artist placement in no way shows any favoritism. Aretha Franklin opens the Top 25 list with “Respect”, and closes out the chart in her duet with Annie Lennox for the Eurythmics track, “Sisters are Doin’ It for Themselves”. Between the borders, the songs of the soundtrack come from Americana, Soul, Folk, Rock’n’Roll, and Blues. The music backs the message of resistance and we are happy to offer a place in the magazine today and every day to anyone standing up for a cause.


01 Aretha Franklin - Respect (from the album 30 Greatest Hits)

The Queen of Soul seemed like the only way to begin. Aretha Franklin spells it out for anyone missing the word….R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The women marchers took to their feet to show what it means to them. Politics are no longer a one way street.

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02 Lucinda Williams – Awakening (from the album Blessed)

Lucinda Williams sings of an “Awakening”. Complacency put us to sleep, and the Women’s March woke up a population. No one will be unaffected, and sticking your head in the sand is not an option. Even if you could somehow ignore the march, Lucinda Williams is not one to be ignored, so please Wake Up!

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03 Nikki Lane – Highway Queen (from the album Highway Queen)

With 60,000 miles of blacktop behind her, Nikki Lane proclaims independence as she lets anyone listening know that the ‘highway queen don’t need no king’. The message crosses border from the throne to the White House. Women are okay by themselves as Nikki Lane rolls along the miles with no slowing down on the title track from her upcoming release, Highway Queen.

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04 Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - I Learned the Hard Way (from the soundtrack album Miss Sharon Jones)

Mean streets give a lesson early in life. Sharon Jones got the cold shoulder from a different sort of politics when she was told by the music industry powers-that-be that the singer was ‘too short, too fat, and too black’. History proved those voices wrong, and if Sharon’s experience is an indicator, the march is heading into the future to re-write the rules, with the walkers joining her in the back story of “I Learned the Hard Way” of ‘now I know about you’.

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05 Amanda Shires – My Love (The Storm) (from the album My Piece of Land)

Amanda Shires is a new mother, and she knows about love that grows inside and manifests outside in the form a new life. Her song “My Love (The Storm)” has a universal message that the power of love is not an emotion to be toyed with, and that its warmth can spark fire and lightning.

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06 Indigo Girls – Closer to Fine (from the album Indigo Girls)

In an answer to the question ‘what will a march accomplish?’, the Indigo Girls have a simple answer. Every step brings both the marchers and the world one step “Closer to Fine”. The Indigo Girls have championed rights since they broke the old boy network of male music dominance back in the 1980’s. They are still singing while may male peers have come and gone.

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07 Calico the band – High Road (from the album Rancho California)

The trails that opened the west to future citizens of America were built by marching feet. Calico the band beat ‘gunslinging fools’ in the past and present as they take the “High Road” on a track from their last album release, Rancho California. The ladies of Calico plant a female flag in the golden west with their California Country.

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08 Margo Price - Four Years of Chances (from the album Midwestern Farmer’s Daughter)

The “Four Years of Chances” that Margo Price is singing about have occurred in the past and have nothing to do with the next four years. The point of the song on the Top 25 tunes celebrating the Women’s March is that once your chances are over, there is no going back. The horses are out of the stable once those words are spoken, and no amount of denial can change the truth.

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09 Ruthie Foster – Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (from the album …First Came Memphis Minnie)

Ruthie Foster borrows the words from Memphis Minnie to offer some excellent advice. The ideas she is suggesting to keep your opinions to yourself come in different forms, both spoken and typed. No matter the vehicle, speak or tweet, spite is spite, so please “Keep Your Big Mouth Closed” when giving opinions on others.

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10 Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Things That We Are Made Of (from the album The Things That We Are Made Of)

What Mary Chapin Carpenter shows in her words and music, the marchers for the Women’s March showed with their actions. Every step, every voice, clearly showed “What We Are Made Of”. Mary Chapin Carpenter took her voice to Washington, D.C. to sing for the gathering on Saturday, January 21, 2017.

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11 Mary Gauthier - Oh Soul (from the album Trouble and Love)

No stranger to the streets, Mary Gauthier sings from experience, using the personal pain she has endured as message to a worldwide community. Mary warns that selling your soul loses your most valuable asset as she talks about her past as a guideline towards not making the same mistake in “Oh Soul”.

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12 A Traveling Song – Alice Wallace (from the album Music, Memories, and Pride)

Alice Wallace is humbled by a young woman she meets in “A Traveling Song” as she tells the tale of an eighteen year old returning from building homes for struggling families on the Mexican border who experienced loss from a flood. Alice travels with her guitar, making structures with songs as she sings of kindness and writing wrongs.

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13 Shelby Lynne – Be in the Now (from the album I Can’t Imagine)

Shelby Lynne sings about the cloud that hangs over each of us, offering the wisdom that all darkness passes. Shelby suggest that to “Be in the Now” is the answer for taking care of your life, whether it is with a voice or your feet. Rain passes, and though it might slow you down, it is not an obstacle, just weather.

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14 Gretchen Peters - Woman on the Wheel (from the album Hello Cruel World)

Gretchen Peters points out the act is not as important as what turns the wheel. One person stands still throwing darts yet is the human being on the other end that has to dodge the sharp barbs, or as in the case of the “Woman on the Wheel”, spin to prove that is it not fear that goes around and around but what that fear reveals.

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15 Melissa Etheridge – All American Girl (from the album Yes I Am)

Melissa Etheridge introduces an “All American Girl” who works to take care of a family at the same time she raises the family on her own. She is not complaining, just claiming her due as she drives into the future on a fast track beat doing whatever it takes to survive in the world.

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16 Anne McCue – Broken Promise Land (from the album Broken Promise Land)

Anne McCue is cruising through “Broken Promise Land”, observing that there is ‘no milk, no more honey’. Hard times have hit and truth has left the building. Anne McCue sings sweetly on a guitar edge that slashes and burns a way through the track.

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17 Bettye Lavette - You Don’t Know Me at All (from the album The Scene of the Crime)

Bettye Lavette is a giver though there are limits. She is singing the song of the marchers around the world on Saturday, January 21, 2017 who have proven that if the power structure thinks that they can lob anything in their direction then “You Don’t Know Me at All”. Actions have spoken louder than the words of insults.

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18 Allison Moorer - Gonna Get It Wrong (from the album Down to Believing)

Perfection is a goal but not a deal breaker, Allison Moorer is pretty sure that she is “Gonna Get It Wrong” though she does not give up or give in simply because a mistake has been made. She uses wrong turns as a road map for the right way to reach your destination.

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19 Julie Christensen and Stone Cupid - Shed My Skin (from the album The Cardinal)

Julie Christensen invites you to ‘take a ride across the border’ that exists between the present and the past. Julie takes ‘ a piece of who I am’ with her as she comes face to face with a wall. If the burden becomes too heavy, she suggests the game is to “Shed My Skin” rather than wear yesterday’s mistakes. She breaks out of the inside of the bubble in the song with guitar slashes and her take-no-prisoners vocals.

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20 Joan Jett – You Don’t Own Me (from the album Bad Reputation)

Joan Jett raises the bar for Lesley Gore’s demands on dating by giving “You Don’t Own Me” a punk rock makeover. Joan Jett takes the tune to a worldwide stage and gives the message heft with her spit and snarl. The beat is a marching cadence for the feet stomping around the globe in the Women’s March.

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21 Amelia White - River of My Dreams (from the album Old Postcard)

When the day-to-day wears you down, Amelia White goes back to the well. She is sailing on a “River of My Dreams”, using the past to light the way into her future. Amelia White hops on board as the water carries her back into the light.

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22 Fanny – The First Time in a Long Time (from the album First Time in a Long Time)

Fanny were the first all-female band signed to a major record label in the late 1960’s. The pound of the song has echoed through the years in between, bringing soul and salvation into a track from their debut album.

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23 Trio - I’ve Had Enough (from the album Trio)

The power of three came together for the studio album for Trio. The superstar voices behind the threesome come from Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt. The album is not new, though the message of “I’ve Had Enough” takes on new meaning as it joins in the line of marchers for the Women’s March.

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24 Ashleigh Flynn – How the West Was Won (from the album A Million Stars)

Western movies are full of cowboys on both sides of the law. Ashleigh Flynn rights history in her song “How the West Was Won”. Her heroes are outlaws with peers like Billy the Kid as they ride the range. Over ragged guitar lines Ashleigh wins the deal for her heroine.

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25 Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves – Eurythmics featuring Aretha Franklin (from the album Be Yourself Tonight)

Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin set the record straight on the Eurythmics tune, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”. They form a line with female doctors, lawyers, and politicians. Aretha exits our Top 25 Women’s March list with the phrase, ‘thank you, I’ll get it myself’.

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