Reprinted in full:
ATO Records, an independent record label out of New York City, has been reflecting deeply on the injustices and inequality in our world. We recognize that music is not just an agent for change, but a space of solace. As we approach our 20th anniversary as a label, we remain proud to represent a diverse range of artists whose music imparts messages of inclusivity, justice, and equality.
In that spirit, we’ve assembled an LP that showcases our extraordinary roster of artists and epitomizes ATO’s richness of musical diversity and talent. Silence Is Not An Option is a compilation of 38 powerful anthems from the ATO catalog that explore issues of identity, community, social justice, and resistance. Tracks include Brittany Howard’s Goat Head, released in 2019, the explosive song that Howard wrote about growing up in the South with a white mother and a black father; Benjamin Booker’s Witness, released in 2017, (“Right now we could use a little pick-me-up / Seems like the whole damn nation’s trying to take us down”), a collaboration with soul music and civil rights icon Mavis Staples; Drive-By Truckers’ What It Means, released in 2016, the withering track that Patterson Hood wrote in response to the police shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown; and Chicano Batman’s Invisible People, released earlier this year (“Invisible people, we’re tired of living in the dark / Everyone is trying to tear us apart / All we wanna do is heal now”).
The compilation also features See Me, a brand-new song from Grammy-nominated R&B artist Emily King. King wrote and recorded the passionate track just days ago in response to the Black Lives Matters protests. “Feeling so moved by this powerful time,” says King. “Everyday watching the world demand justice. I wake up with sadness but also hope. Like people are starting to finally notice how deeply broken things are. Can you hear me now? Can you see me now? I started singing the words and they wouldn’t leave my head.”
ATO stands with all those committed to the fight for racial equality and mutual respect among all peoples. Silence Is Not An Option is available today digitally and for pre-order on vinyl exclusively on Bandcamp, who are donating 100% of their fees to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund. ATO will donate 100% of net proceeds from the compilation to causes supporting the Black Lives Matter global human rights movement: Black Lives Matter Greater New York, Color of Change, and Innocence Project. Vinyl will ship in August.
“This compilation is not about the label, it’s about our artists who’ve been outspoken and providing commentary on these issues for years,” says ATO General Manager and Head of A&R Jon Salter. “Team ATO couldn’t be prouder to raise awareness and money showcasing these powerful songs in our catalog, and be in this moment alongside our exceptional artist community.”