Ed. note: As long as humans have been making music, it’s been used as a form of protest. Each week, as part of KQED Arts’ 100 Days project, documenting artists’ responses to our new administration, we'll be posting a new song that responds to our current political climate.
John Elliott is the only person I know who, in October of 2016, unequivocally believed Donald Trump would be elected president. I heard him state it calmly a few times, including once at a party full of fellow Bay Area musicians. Everyone laughed nervously, or shuddered for a moment, then changed the subject.
"I knew Hillary Clinton would lose, no matter who she faced," he says today, simply, when asked for an explanation of his prescience. A Minnesota native who's lived in California since the turn of the millennium, Elliott is a songwriter's songwriter: known for his wry, literate storytelling and wordplay, accompanying himself simply on guitar or piano, there's something a little bit mystical about how powerfully he holds a room's attention.
Certain of the election's outcome, Elliott spent the early evening hours on election night on a bike ride in the Outer Sunset, not checking his phone, taking in "the end of the era." And, though he wasn't pleased with the night's conclusions, he says, "I won several bets."