Blight

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Songfacts®:

  • Tim Higgins is a preservationist, which is Alabama is rough sledding. After graduating from college, he worked for the Preservation Society in Tuscaloosa, where he tried to save the Victorian houses, including the one where he grew up, from destruction. It was a losing effort, but along the way Higgins learned a lot about politics and developed his skills as a songwriter. His preservation efforts led him to explore the concept of "blight," a common term developers use to describe buildings they want to tear down.

    On the Songfacts Podcast, Higgins told the story: "I would come across this term of 'blight' used in the 1940s, '50s, '60s as a way for urban renewal. The city could consider a property a blight and condemn it to tear it down. And most often that happened in lower-income communities, where people of color owned homes. Blight is invasive, and the word is lobbed at plants and communities that are not what the status quo likes. So the running theme throughout the album is this growing idea of blight."
  • Before he lived in Alabama, Higgins grew up in the Detroit area. There, he thought of "blight" as a horticultural term, which gave him a different understanding of its meaning.
  • Higgins released "Blight" as his first single in November 2018. The song earned some acclaim, including a spot on Rolling Stone Country's Best New Music list. His debut album, thought, didn't emerge until February 2020, just weeks before the pandemic hit. He had just a week and a half to tour and promote the album before shutting down.
  • Directed by Reagan Wells, the music video was shot in part at the Greensboro Opera House in North Carolina.

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