The Avett Brothers‘ new “This Land Is Your Land” cover aims to prove that America is for everyone. Despite the division within the country, the song and its accompanying music video offer comfort and show off the diversity that makes United States great.
Directed by Emmy-winning Samuel Bayer (the director behind, among others, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video), the Avetts’ “The Land Is Your Land” video intersperses footage of Scott and Seth Avett performing the classic American song in their home state of North Carolina with footage filmed in Los Angeles, Calif.; New York City; New Orleans, La.; and the Navajo Nation.
“Samuel has highlighted the timelessness of perhaps the most quintessential American folk song by creating a timeless music video marrying performance with the most lovely imagery of American people,” reflects Seth Avett in a press release. “We are honored to be a part of such an endeavor in the like-minded spirit of unity and love.”
The black-and-white clip came together after Bayer spent the early days of the novel coronavirus pandemic traveling around the country to work on a documentary about COVID-19. “While visiting testing sites in vulnerable populations, I was listening to the Avett Brothers’ music and was inspired … I contacted them and told them I wanted to hear their interpretation of Woody Guthrie’s classic anthem “This Land Is Your Land” …
“This is a hopeful video during a time where the country is so divided,” the director adds, “and I hope Americans will be inspired to be thoughtful during this trying time.”
Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” in 1940, as a response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” and based on the melody of the Carter Family’s “When the World’s on Fire.” The Avetts’ version of the song includes Guthrie’s verse about “a high wall there that tried to stop me” – timely today in light of debates about immigration — but skips its final two verses and uses the first verse, its best-known lines, as a repeated chorus.
The Avetts’ version of “This Land Is Your Land” is due out as a single on Friday (Nov. 6). It follows the band’s The Third Gleam, released in late August.