- Bryon Harris
Kronowitt's "Got Guns?" Has Guts, Class, and Fun
Indie-Folk artist Pete Kronowitt asks the question, "Is it just me or do other folks feel like it's time to speak out?" In his fourth album, ‘A Lone Voice,' Kronowitt answers that question with his music. It’s time. He is not alone, but he is one in a few following the footsteps of artists like Woodie Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Phil Ochs. Protest music was born in the 18th century as a voice against slavery and poverty. Flash forward and protest songs in modern day include artists like Pink who gave us “Dear Mr. President” and Green Day’s ‘American Idiot.’ So it is with great respect for the tradition and its journey that I present Pete Kronowitt’s song “Got Guns?”
With upcoming elections, the history of gun violence in the U.S., mass shootings in the news, and the power of the NRA, Kronowitt’s “Got Guns?” is timely and relevant. “Got Guns?” opens up with a short bluesy-county guitar riff, a strong beat, and melodic phrasing so catchy you can whistle to it. The first verse starts with some tongue-and-cheek sarcasm and a little role-reversal coming from the voice of the NRA, “The NRA is here to stay. Go and get some guns today. There's a reason it rhymes with fun. Go out today and get a gun.” If you are new to Kronowitt, then you might be wondering what direction the song is heading for. He lets you know pretty quickly with “The NRA won’t go away so everybody better learn to pray.”
Kronowitt has a unique voice that lends itself perfectly for this genre. It is down-to-earth and laid back with just a little grit to give the music character. Throughout the track there are tasteful, twangy guitar riffs, steady rhythm guitar work and good rockin’ drums and bass. Kronowitt’s also makes great use of musical word-painting. An example would be the percussive attacks in "Got Guns?" that sound like pistols on “Rata-tat-tat” and “Click-Click-Boom.” The production and mix are smooth and well-done.. In “Got Guns?,” Kronnowitt has a place in his heart for the children who are often victims of gun violence and he provides a voice for them in the songs softer, more introspective moment, “Guns in the playground. Guns at school. Waterproof guns in the backyard pool. Sticks and stones may break your bones and there's an app for that, it's a gun.” Later on, the song slows down as if he is holding a special moment of silence with his audience and a gentle guitar arpeggio enters as he sings, “Guns kill people. Children too. Eight Kids die every day. I guess they don’t got guns.”
“Got Guns?” is so catchy and fun and upbeat that you might feel like swaying and dancing to it. I am reminded of “Pumped Up Kicks,” by Foster the People even though the genres are very different. What is remarkable about Kronowitt’s music is that is able to tackle highly sensitive topics with grace, guts, class and even a touch of humor. “The empty chamber is your head. No need to fill that thing with lead. That barrel of monkeys is the NRA.” Kronowitt is a sophisticated, political song-writer in that he is not “in-your-face” and this approach allows for his listeners to have a seat at the table to listen, to hear, to think, and even to sing along.
Kronowitt, who devotes his musical talents to promoting social justice and change, deserves a special place among musicians and in the community because his songs have an additional purpose- to change the way we see the world. Thank you Pete Kronowitt. We need more artists like you and this is coming from a young, twenty-something musician and writer who felt your call, "Is it just me?" Discovering Pete Kronowitt is like discovering that you are not alone in speaking out. He offers inspiration, motivation, and a voice that is inviting and fun If you would also like to be inspired, moved, and given some food for thought, visit Pete Kronowitt’s website and listen to more tracks off ‘A Lone Voice.’
Pete is an internationally touring artist with shows lined up this fall in San Francisco. A show of note is on November 5th at 7:30 p.m. at San Francisco's Cafe du Soleil; it will be special election politics extravaganza. Below is a video from The Star Live, Beijing China.
Up next on the radar for Kronowitt is a new collaborative project that will explore humanitarian themes in an upbeat context. His next album will be rootsy, alt-country-pop with an intersection of activism, collaboration and fun.
To learn more about Peter Kronowitt and to listen to more songs off the album ‘A Lone Voice," you can visit his website.