This Land

  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This blend of hip-hop and blues finds Gary Clark Jr. serving up a searing indictment of the racism and closed-mindedness he has experienced in America. The singer told American Songwriter magazine that having spent his "whole life being black in Texas," he has experienced all kinds of discrimination, both blatant and subtle. With the current political climate he just feels he's had enough. "Everyone just wants to be treated like a human being," Clark said.
  • Clark said he had Woody Guthrie's iconic protest song "This Land Is Your Land" in mind when he penned this tune.

    "It's one of the first songs we learn, and we sing it together," Clark said. "It's like the Pledge of Allegiance … And when you're kids, everybody's together. You don't see differences until you get older, and older people influence you to think about other people a certain way. I just want to get back to singing that song like we were kids again, you know?"

    The song samples Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings' R&B version of "This Land Is Your Land," recorded by the group in 2005.
  • A specific incident was the impetus for this song. Clark bought a 50-acre ranch near Austin, where he moved in with his wife and two young children. When he met his neighbor for the first time, the guy refused to believe that Clark owned the place, and was disrespectful to him in front of his kids. This blatant display of racism enraged Clark and led him to write "This Land."
  • The song's music video was filmed in Austin, Texas and directed by the British-born Savanah Leaf. She was originally a volleyball player who competed for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, before becoming a filmmaker and photographer.
  • Clark's disillusion on this song is tempered by hope. "I walk the streets of any city if I'm playing a show - it's love, it's hugs from all races," he told Rolling Stone. "There's love here. We just can't let people take that away."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

They Might Be GiantsSongwriter Interviews

Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.

90s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

First question: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson appeared in videos for what artist?

Dave MasonSongwriter Interviews

Dave reveals the inspiration for "Feelin' Alright" and explains how the first song he ever wrote became the biggest hit for his band Traffic.

Rickie Lee JonesSongwriter Interviews

Rickie Lee Jones on songwriting, social media, and how she's handling Trump.

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.