Independence Day is only a few days away, and while this year’s 4th of July celebrations will look much different than ones in years past, the holiday and the meaning behind it is still very much on Tim McGraw’s mind right now.
Back when he was doing his homework for his book Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation, he discovered a new appreciation for some of the very vintage songs that made America sound great.
Like “The Liberty Song.”
“I learned so many songs, going back and researching for this book. And I think the very first song that we did, and one of the very first songs that I dug into and tried to figure out how to make into music, it’s called ‘The Liberty Song,'” McGraw said in a recent radio interview.
“And it’s like, ‘Come join hand in hand brave Americans all.’ When you hear the prescient view that so many people had to have for this song to be written, and this was well before the American Revolution.
“This was written in the 1760’s. And when you see what they thought this country could be — just in the lyrics of that song — what they thought this country could be, who they thought they were, what they thought it was worth, I mean, that really moved me. And I think that that song is the one I always go back to when I think about the sacrifices made and how this country got here.”
The lyrics to the song were written by one of our country’s founding fathers, John Dickinson, in 1768. Dickinson was known as the Penman of the Revolution. And he set his lyrics — Come join hand in hand, brave Americans all/By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall/In so righteous a cause let us hope to succeed/For heaven approves of each generous deed — to the music of “Heart of Oak,” the British Royal Navy anthem.
The book McGraw co-wrote with historian Jon Meacham is a celebration of American history through the music that helped shape our country. So if the pandemic is forcing you to stay home on the 4th of July this year instead of gathering with friends and family for fireworks, this New York Times bestseller would make a great alternative that will give you a deeper appreciation for the role music has played in uniting our nation.