With his new single and video, ‘Ordinary Soil’, heartland rock songwriter Alex Woodard asks us to think about what we’re doing when we’re making our consumption choices.
The earth is the source of everything we wear, eat, and ultimately, everything that makes us who we are. By using pesticides and corrosive chemicals, we are pushing ourselves more and more towards the death of our planet and everything on it, including ourselves. There is no planet B. Once this one is destroyed, that’s it. Alex Woodard asks us to think about the ground beneath our feet, and to consider what it is we are doing.
Alex Woodard has made a name for himself as an inventive literary storyteller, he’s the author of a string of books that fall somewhere between memoir, fable, mystery, inspirational prose, historical drama and sociopolitical essay. All the while, he’s accompanied his books with recordings, which extend and amplify on the themes he’s written about, and with his latest release, ‘Ordinary Soil’, he’s promised to release a song cycle later this year. ‘Ordinary Soil’ follows the story of an Oklahoma farmer, as he fights against despair, and struggles to overcome the desperate situation all agricultural workers find themselves in. The battle takes him on a journey deep into the prairie past, where he discovers the roots of the ecological disaster we are currently confronted by. No less than Woody Harrelson has reviewed the track, and he says,
“Ordinary Soil brings to life the desperate realities of the American heartland but also offers a glimpse into a better future…a call to action for us all.”
The title track from ‘Ordinary Soil’ is heartfelt, pained, and brooding, a folk song that is written from the point of view of the farmer himself. Like all of Woodard’s songs, it’s both frank and forthright, economical, and above all, deeply motivated. The music video that accompanies the track shows the viewer, warts and all, what the modern agriculturalist is faced with, in all its danger and backbreaking labour. Cracked soil, barrels of pesticide, heavy machinery, and the unforgiving prairie. Alex Woodard also features in the clip, playing guitar, and the concern running deep in his face as he enhances the narrative of the song, alerting the public as to the calamity that daily faces the American farmer. It’s a message that might save not just agriculture, but it might also save us as well.