Guest Room Sessions: The Haymarket Squares, ‘Horrible Inventions’
For March's Guest Room Sessions video, the Haymarket Squares perform "Horrible Inventions," along with talented percussionist Douglas Berry. The band -- Mark Sunman (vocalist, multi-instrumentalist), Mark Allred (vocals, slide guitar and harmonica), Jayson James (fiddle), John Luther Norris (vocals, guitar and kazoo) and Marc Oxborrow (vocals and bass) -- and Berry filmed the clip inside an Airstream motor home.
The Haymarket Square selected "Horrible Inventions" for the Guest Room Sessions due to its signature "punkgrass" elements; as Sunman explains, it's "fast, loud, a little bit angry, pro-immigrant and anti-border." It's a song with a message, and the band speaks that message loud and clear through the music.
"The song is important to us because we live near a border and under the rule of a tyrant sheriff who will stop at nothing to oppress people with border laws," Sunman explains. "In the hotly contested immigration debate, we want to remind everybody that these things called the border, the Border Patrol and the victimization of immigrants are all "Horrible Inventions.""
The addition of Berry gives "Horrible Inventions" the urgency it needs, but he also brings added excitement and danceability that's present in many of the Haymarket Squares' songs.
"These things exist because we’ve failed to see through the facade of separation. We’ve failed to realize and acknowledge that there is no 'us' and 'them' -- it’s only 'us.' We are the same, we are one, and any discussion of borders and immigration needs to start there," Sunman adds. "These are people, families, humans with a right to survive and thrive, yet we place more importance on imaginary lines that were drawn with blood and injustice. How can this country, built on stolen land and genocide, possibly have the moral authority to tell people they can’t live here?"
The Haymarket Squares are upfront about their views, with the content of their songs leaning heavily to the political left. The five-member group, which started as a trio in 2009, has developed a loyal following, not just for its messages but also due to its undeniable talent. They recently released a new record, Light It Up, which features 12 songs with influences of polka, gospel and Latin percussion mixed into the tracks' punkgrass sounds; it is available for download on iTunes.
For information on upcoming shows, visit HaymarketSquares.com.