Dec 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Conference of Mayors collects city songs for project to foster local pride

Graphic of a fist handing a music note and the words "Many cities, many songs: 2020 City Song Project. The U.S. Conference of Mayors: Americans for the arts."

Courtesy: U.S. Conference of Mayors

Mayors from across the country have contributed songs written by local citizens to a growing collection being compiled by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Why it matters: The project, spearheaded by Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky, is aimed at mustering local pride and solidarity — and supporting the arts.

Where it stands: So far, the City Song Project features submissions from Louisville, Chicago; Reno, Nevada; Austin, Texas; Detroit, Charleston, South Carolina; Oklahoma City; New Orleans; and Burnsville, Minnesota.

  • Titles include "Sweet Home Chicago," "Cha Cha Charleston" and "Unity OKC."
  • "Lift Up Louisville" was written by artists who included Louisville Orchestra music director Teddy Abrams. It was originally meant to raise money for the city's COVID-19 response fund.
  • Per the Louisville Courier Journal: "Fischer called it a 'love song' full of 'all genres of our musicians together ... in a way that hasn't been done before in our city.'" 

What they're saying: "I love the song," Mayor Steve Adler of Austin told me of the one he contributed, "Walk with Me Austin," which has a jazzy feel to it.

  • "We had a lot of people who contributed to it, who invested a lot of themselves and their talent into the projects," said Adler, noting that local artists have had trouble finding gigs during the pandemic.
  • The song itself reflects the current times, as it was "developed really at the crossroads of the pandemic and the George Floyd racial justice actions," Adler said. "It became something that was bigger than what I had thought it was initially going to be."

The bottom line: As the authors of "Lift Up Louisville" put it: "I never thought I'd see the day when we come together/by keeping ourselves so far away from one another/It's only for now, it's not forever."

  • "How long will we have to stay all cooped up in our homes? How much longer til we can hold our loved ones close?"
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