Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. want it clear: “We Almost Lost Detroit” is not their song, and it’s more than just a cover. The song was originally written by the late great Gil Scott-Heron as a reaction to Three Mile Island accident (a partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor halfway between Detroit, MI and Toledo, OH) in 1979. Today D.E.J.J. premiered the song’s music video. On their blog, they explained the video and song’s meaning for them:
“But the spirit of the song that always rang out to us was that it didn’t seem to be about simply pointing out what had gone wrong. The message seemingly was one of progress. About setting things right. Coming together as people and moving forward. As Gil would say many years later in concert, the song is about realizing that “somebody’s always got to be on the job… because there’s always a job out there to do”.
So we wanted this video to be about people DOING things in and around the city of Detroit. People who are on the job. People who have moved past “what happened?” and are spending more time saying “lets MAKE things happen”. These are the people who we feel represent the city of Detroit.
Sadly, roughly nine months after we recorded and began performing our version of the song, Gil Scott Heron passed away at the age of 62. To be clear, we do not consider ourselves a mouthpiece for him nor are we anywhere near as strong of a social voice as he was. But we do hope that our version of his song continues to inspire people to get out there and work towards a better future.
In essence, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. shares a similar position as Detroit rapper, Elzhi, who explained to us in an interview “Detroit has always felt like it was the last ones out. To the people that grew up in Detroit and do music, and to people that grew up in Detroit that don’t do music, we all feel like we have something to prove. We all feel like the underdogs.” (Click to read the full interview) Through the economic recession and now, its hopeful climb, Detroit has transformed into a symbol of renewal. “We Almost Lost Detroit” is a wonderfully positive viewpoint of how we can move forward.
The single will be included on the group’s Record Store Release day. Additionally, lucky fans in Detroit can catch the group later this month at Majestic Theater (4/21); while, the rest of us can see them at Bonnaroo.
Watch “We Almost Lost Detroit” by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. below: