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Grievous Angels | Barcelona (I’ll Be Free): Exclusive Video Premiere

The Canadian folk vets celebrate May Day with a contemporary workers' anthem.

Grievous Angels mark International Workers’ Day with the new video for their defiant, anthemic single Barcelona (I’ll Be Free) — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.

For the latest preview of their imminent new album Last Call For Cinderella, the veteran Ontario folk activists fronted by Charlie Angus stand up for labourers with “a song of resistance in an age of shit jobs, gig work and the toxic 1%.” Over a tense martial rhythm and four-stroke acoustic guitars, Janet Mercier and Alexandra Bell narrate the plight of a middle-aged female labourer dreaming of escape and revolution while hustling to make ends meet for a boss she’s never seen and a foreman who can’t keep his hands to himself:

“I’ve got two jobs, I’ve got three roommates
I’m a woman of 43
I’ve got a dream that keeps me going
of a place I’ve never seen
So I save what I can in this gig economy
because I know where I’m going
Barcelona, I’ll be free…
Could be Monday or a Wednesday
When they need me I’ll be gone
There’ll be a red flag a-flying on the boss’s front lawn.”

Photo by Paul Rincon.

It’s not the first flag Angus and co. have planted in their day. Many musicians talk the talk when it comes to social justice messaging, but few walk the walk like Grievous Angels have for close to four decades. Of course, maintaining that reputation helps when co-founder and principal songwriter Angus has been an NDP MP since 2004, representing Timmins-James Bay. But Grievous Angels have always been, and continue to be, a collective unit dedicated to carving out a unique place within the alternative country and folk worlds with songs and live performances that reflect the tragic beauty of life in Canada’s blue-collar northern frontier.

Due May 7, Last Call For Cinderella — their first album since 2021’s Summer Before The Storm — presents a fragile picture of the growing dissonance and fear permeating this moment in history. That notion is fully captured on songs like This Is How The City Falls, written by Angus in the aftermath of 2022’s month-long convoy occupation of downtown Ottawa, during which Canada’s normally quiet capital was thrown into chaos by a conspiracy theory-fuelled mob. As an artist who has followed in the footsteps of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer and Billy Bragg, Angus remains unflinching in his observations of modern society.

Photo by Paul Rincon.

The soundtrack to a time of climate crisis, disinformation and economic insecurity, Last Call For Cinderella is the latest pledge from Angus to be a voice for the voiceless, something he’s done since emerging from the Toronto punk scene in the early 1980s with the band L’Etranger. Following their breakup, Angus worked with the homeless in Toronto while forming Grievous Angels as a busking project. The band soon drew national attention through acclaimed albums such as 1990’s Juno-nominated One Job Town and 1996’s Waiting For The Cage. Having played everywhere in Canada, from major folk festivals to picket lines, from touring with Stompin’ Tom Connors to performing for residential school survivors, Grievous Angels are a national treasure. And with Last Call For Cinderella, they prove that their country needs them now more than ever.

Watch the video for Barcelona (I’ll Be Free) above, check out This Is How The City Falls below, and follow Grievous Angels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.