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Robert Neustadt | Voluntary Return: Songs of Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees

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Folk: Political Folk Blues: Folk-Blues Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Voluntary Return: Songs of Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees

by Robert Neustadt

These songs—folk, Americana and blues—attempt to raise awareness about the injustices affecting refugees around the globe and to raise funds for humanitarian relief. CD Baby and the artist are donating their profits to this cause!
Genre: Folk: Political Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. El Camino
2:55 album only
2. Deportation Whirl
3:40 $0.99
3. Maricopa Shuffle
4:38 $0.99
4. Voluntary Return
4:06 $0.99
5. On Our Way
5:07 $0.99
6. Why We Build the Wall
3:41 album only
7. Seven Bullets
4:07 $0.99
8. Storm Rising
4:30 $0.99
9. Like Netted Fish
4:04 $0.99
10. Itty Bitty Dots
2:50 $0.99
11. K-9 Border Patrol Blues
2:41 $0.99
12. Twelve Years of School
3:05 $0.99
13. Cold and in the Way
4:39 $0.99
14. Take Me to Cleveland
2:35 $0.99
15. Pedro the Pelican
14:02 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
In 2010, I took my first group of students on a field trip to explore the Arizona / Mexico border.
I had been studying border issues for years, but seeing this raw human suffering through my own eyes shook me to the core. I returned from that trip and wrote my first border song, Voluntary Return,
a ballad that calls attention to a euphemism used by our government when obliging people to sign papers stating that they agree to leave the U.S. “voluntarily.” Deportation is devastating and this practice of “voluntary return” is anything but voluntary.

I have been writing songs about aspects of the global refugee crisis ever since.

Sometimes I wonder why I keep returning to stare into the ugly face of this monster. It is not pleasant to walk through the Detention Center in Eloy, or to watch people be denied due process in the sham court proceedings called Operation Streamline. It is heartbreaking to stand in the desert at the site where a little girl froze to death while trying to reach her mother. It is infuriating to stand in Nogales, Sonora, where a 16-year-old boy was shot through the wall by Border Patrol. It is wrenching to look into the eyes of deported people who have lost their families and realize that there is so little that we can do to help.

And yet, I return again and again, voluntarily, staring at the injustice and writing songs that bear witness to this senseless madness. I write songs to exorcise my sadness. I write these songs to process my frustration, to share my anguish, and to attempt to raise awareness about the injustices affecting refugees around the globe. – Bob Neustadt, September 2018

All proceeds from this album will go directly to No More Deaths / No Más Muertes, a volunteer organization that places water and provisions in the desert in an effort to end death and suffering in the Arizona/Mexico borderlands, and the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, an NGO working with families of those who have disappeared while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to find information and justice.

Thank you for purchasing this album and in this way providing tangible help.
No human is illegal! Humanitarian aid is never a crime! Not one more!

Voluntary Return: Songs of Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees

•El Camino. SOMA EEL SONGS, LLC (BMI). Written by Ryan Anthony Massaro p/k/a Amos Lee. Guitar and vocals, Robert Neustadt.

•Deportation Whirl. Guitar, harmonica and vocals, Robert Neustadt.

•Maricopa Shuffle Washtub bass, Peter Ragan. Guitar and vocals,
Robert Neustadt.

•Voluntary Return. Guitar, Chuck Cheesman. Vocals, Robert Neustadt.

•On our Way. Guitar and vocals, Robert Neustadt.

•Why We Build the Wall. By Anaïs Mitchell, used by permission
of Treleven Music. Guitar, vocals and harmonica, Robert Neustadt.

•Seven Bullets. Guitar, vocals and harmonica, Robert Neustadt. Border Wall, Glenn Weyant (extract of the Anta Project and Until There are No More Deaths: Border Wall Tanked).

•Storm Rising. Guitar and vocals, Robert Neustadt.

•Like Netted Fish. Harmonica, guitar and vocals, Robert Neustadt.

•Itty Bitty Dots. Guitar and vocals, Robert Neustadt.

•K-9 Border Patrol Blues. Guitar and vocals, Robert Neustadt.

Twelve Years of School. Guitar and vocals, Robert Neustadt.

Cold and in the Way. Guitar and vocals, Robert Neustadt.

•Take Me to Cleveland. By Peter Ragan. Washtub bass and vocals, Peter Ragan. Vocals, Christa Sadler. Vocals, harmonica and guitar, Robert Neustadt.

•Pedro the Pelican. By Robert Neustadt. Washtub bass, Peter Ragan. Vocals and guitar, Robert Neustadt

© 2018 Voluntary Return. All songs recorded, mixed and mastered by David James at Mudshark Recording Studios in Flagstaff, AZ, except: “Voluntary Return,” recorded by Chuck Cheesman and released on Border Songs: A Collection of Music and Spoken Word. No duplication of any kind is permitted. All songs by Robert Neustadt except where otherwise noted. Graphic Design: Granite Mountain Graphics. All photos by Robert Neustadt except where noted.



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Chuck C

Real Folk Music
This is real folk music in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. These are songs in the service of a higher cause. Neustadt is reminding us to treat our fellow human beings as equals and with the decency and dignity they deserve. There are few issues today as urgent as the humanitarian tragedy that is taking place along our own border; too many people have abandoned empathy and basic human kindness in favor of a vulgar tribalism. Robert Neustadt knows his subject as well as anyone, and he is here telling us the true story - the story more people need to hear.

Listen carefully. This is what folk music is for.