As Madison Rising proves, when it comes to performance, good attitude is everything

Madison RisingI’ve been a fan of Madison Rising, a patriotic rock band, for a long time.  I don’t necessarily like all their music, because they’re pretty heavy on classic rock guitar playing, but I really like their attitude.  The band takes its solid rock chops and applies it to patriotism.  Unlike most musical groups that pretty much reflexively “harsh on” American because it’s what all the cool kids are doing, this band uses its hard rock chops to celebrate America and her many virtues.

As it happens, I love Madison Rising’s rock guitar version of the Star Spangled Banner.  This is quite an admission for me, because I tend to like my songs performed straight, without howls and yowls.  If you were going to predict my musical tastes, you’d usually guess right if you said I would prefer Bing Crosby singing our anthem over some tortured rock band version.  Nevertheless, I’ll repeat:  I love the Madison Rising Star Spangled Banner.

If you’re wondering why I’ve step out of my musical comfort zone with this one, here’s the answer:  Madison Rising’s rendition is a fresh take on our nation’s anthem, performed with enormous energy, and a great deal of love.  This is not a robotic repeat of an old song:

When I listen to Madison Rising’s version of the Star Spangled Banner, I’m reminded of Runrig’s version of Loch Lomond, Scotland’s unofficial anthem. As does Madison Rising, Runrig rocks up a traditional song (indeed, one written around the same time as the Star Spangled Banner), but the group does it with love and passion. Scottish fans are enthusiastic about the group’s version:

My point about both of these groups is that their unorthodox renditions of old favorites are done with reverence and respect.  They are intended to build up, not to tear down.  Contrast that with Roseanne Barr’s justifiably infamous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, which saw her adding crotch-clutching to melody-mangling.  Likewise, a lot of non-homophobic patriots took umbrage when Lady Gaga turned the Star Spangled Banner into a gay-themed anthem.  It was disrespectful, not because she brought her own spirit and style to the song, but because she was quite obviously denigrating the song and America as they currently exist.

I’m waffling on along these lines because at NASCAR’s opening this past weekend, both fans and racers disliked Madison Rising’s version of the Star Spangled Banner, considering its rock energy “disgraceful” and “disrespectful.” I wish I could reach out to the NASCAR crowd and let them know that there’s nothing insulting or disrespectful about Madison Rising. Whether or not you like their version, they sing it as respectful homage to a nation they love. If they can help resurrect some basic patriotism into disaffected young people who read Howard Zinn and like heavy metal and hard rock, more power to them.

Please help pro-American rock group Madison Rising

I got this in my email today:

Dear Patriot,

The goal of our Star Spangled Banner Challenge is to reach 5 million views on our Star Spangled Banner video by December 31st and show all the naysayers that Americans still believe in this country and in our National Anthem.

We are currently at 4.9 MILLION views – but we need YOUR help to make sure we can get that through that last 2% by the end of the year.

So – we’re asking all of our fans to PLEASE watch the video and share it any way you can – on Facebook, through email, on Twitter, or just by telling other people about it.

Take the Challenge: Help Madison Rising reach 5 million views by December 31, 2013 and let’s celebrate what being an American is all about!

As a thank you for being a fan, please enjoy this free download of our new blockbuster track, Hero: http://shop.madisonrising.com/products/hero-free-limited-time-download

Celebrating the Star Spangled Banner

I wanted to share with you an email I got from the rock group Madison Rising:

Dear Patriot,

My name is Dave Bray. I’m the singer for the rock band Madison Rising. I have a great job because every day I get to travel around our country, meet great Americans just like you, and see just how amazing our country truly is.

Unfortunately, watching the news or listening to our politicians can be depressing these days. They’ve become so negative they miss the most basic thing that you and I see every day – America rocks! Yet, here they are doing it yet again, missing a very important patriotic American event that I want to personally share with you.

Madison Rising

The 200th anniversary of our national anthem is right around the corner. On September 14th 1814, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the brutal 25-hour attack by the British on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, penned a poem that became Star Spangled Banner. I wanted to share this information with you and ask for a special favor.

You see, the Star Spangled Banner has been under attack by quite a few celebrities recently. They call it “stupid” and “embarrassing” because it refers to America as the home of the brave. Some actually suggested scrapping our national anthem because no one had it on their iPod.

As a former Navy Corpsman stationed with the U.S. Marines and sworn to defend our country, this got me so riled up I decided to do something about it. So my band and I recorded a version of the Star Spangled Banner that we hope you will play loud and proud every opportunity you get. You can check it out below:

I love our national anthem and if you feel the same way, I hope you will help us make the Star Spangled Banner the #1 song in America as we approach its 200th anniversary by purchasing the single for $0.99 through Amazon or iTunes.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0089H2JKK

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/star-spangled-banner-single/id533117174

Also – and this is important – if at all possible, please FORWARD this e-mail to at least 5 of your friends. This is not a chain letter. You won’t get rich if you forward it, and something bad won’t happen if you don’t. But, by forwarding this to just a few friends, and by them doing the same, this message will be seen by millions of Americans in just a few months. By doing so, you will help us silence the critics of this great song once and for all and help us restore a sense of pride back into America during a period of great difficulty. After all, that was the original purpose of the Star Spangled Banner back nearly 200 years ago!

Finally, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, we hope to hear from you. Please drop us a line at band@madisonrising.com and let us know what it is that YOU love about being American!

Remember – America Rocks and so do YOU!

Yours Truly
Dave Bray

Yes, the boys will make money from this, but it really is a good cause — or more accurately, we’re talking about two good causes: promoting the National Anthem and supporting a band that is the un-Miley Cyrus.

Just Because Music: Runrig’s “Loch Lomond”

When we were touring Loch Lomond, our guide played this song for us.  The more I listened to this non-traditional version of Loch Lomond, the more I liked it — better than the very classic, vaguely operatic version that my father bequeathed me.  It’s rather thrilling how the energy keeps picking up as the song progresses, until it goes from ballad to march.  (And have I mentioned, about 800,000 times, that my Dad was still piped into battle during WWII, so this song meant a lot to him?)

And I know what it reminds me of stylistically:

Madison Rising’s “Star Spangled Banner” *UPDATED*

I’m quite the traditionalist when it comes to renditions of the Star Spangled Banner, but I really, really like the passion behind Madison Rising’s version.  They’re looking to reach 5,000,000 hits this July 4th, so please watch it and, if you like it, spread the love:

By the way, you can contrast this heartfelt version, with its deep and abiding respect for America, with Lady Gaga’s gay-themed version.

UPDATE:  One more thing to add here is that Madison Rising is a conservative band, dedicated to using the gospel of rock to sell conservative beliefs and American patriotism.  I like that in a rock band.

A rockin’ Star Spangled Banner that even a purist can love

I’m a fuddy duddy when it comes to the Star Spangled Banner.  I hate howling ululations and piercing shrieks.  It turns out, though, that if you give me a rockin’ good anthem, sung by guys who believe in every word, I will get those familiar chills down my spine that tell me I’m listening to some serious good music.  Madison Rising’s Star Spangled Banner may well be one for the ages. Listen and pass it on: