What If I told You

from by Gabriel Kahane

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    "[A] stunning portrait of a singular moment in America." — Rolling Stone
    "A song cycle of unwavering seriousness, delivering snapshots of a broken and desperate nation... [Kahane] is one of the finest, most searching songwriters of the day." — The New Yorker


    12" vinyl pressing. Pre-orders include a signed print of the cover image, which was taken by Gabriel during his train trip. You will be emailed a link to download a song upon pre-ordering, and will receive four additional songs (one every 10-14 days) leading up to the release. LP insert includes complete lyrics.

    Includes unlimited streaming of BOOK OF TRAVELERS via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 1 day
    Purchasable with gift card

      $18 USD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in a digipak with complete lyrics and original photography. You will be emailed a link to download a song upon pre-ordering, and will receive four additional songs (one every 10-14 days) leading up to the release. (Image is just a mock-up; physical product doesn't exist yet!)

    Includes unlimited streaming of BOOK OF TRAVELERS via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 1 day
    Purchasable with gift card

      $12 USD or more 

     

lyrics

“What if I told you
That I’m on this train
Because my two grown sons were frightened—
Me driving through the night
On a stretch of farm-stand highway
In Mississippi—

‘Cause they don’t need a hood or a cross or a tree.

What if I told you
That I’m headed to a funeral in Tupelo
On the hundred acre farm
Purchased by my great-grandfather
Who learned to read
‘Cause his master’s daughter,
Taught him secretly,

And not knowing
What kind of schooling
His own children would receive,
He taught them never to sign
Their names on anything—

‘Cause they don’t need a hood or a cross or a tree.

And would he have believed
That his great-granddaughter—
All the way to the Ivy League?

And would he have believed
The millions of dollars—
And yet still unsafe
On that stretch of farm-stand highway?

What if I told you
That my eldest son
Loves a white girl
Whom I adore,
But who lives in a part of town where
A black man might be mistaken for—

‘Cause they don’t need a hood or a cross or a tree.
No, they don’t need a hood or a cross or a tree.

And if I told you all of that,
Maybe you would understand
Why I have limited sympathy
For your desire to know the suffering
Of the working white man.”

Monica explained
In the dining car
As we hurtled South
In the growing dark.

credits

from BOOK OF TRAVELERS, released August 24, 2018

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Gabriel Kahane Brooklyn, New York

Gabriel Kahane is eating chocolate bread.

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