By Mark Kemp
When Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley rolled into Iowa’s Simpson College on Monday, he brought along an acoustic guitar and played Iowa singer-songwriter Greg Brown’s 1981 ode to his home state, “The Iowa Waltz.” AG has contacted Brown, the husband of country-folk singer Iris DeMent and father of singer-songwriter Pieta Brown, to get his review of O’Malley’s performance, but so far the singer has not responded.
In a story at The Des Moines Register, O’Malley told reporter Grant Rodgers that he’d been working on his version of the Brown song for some time, but wasn’t sure he got the chords exactly right:
“I played it in Decorah, and everybody sang along and I thought, ‘Wow, that was great,'” [O’Malley] said. “I had never tried it there before. Then after, they said, ‘Yeah, Greg Brown plays here all the time.'”
“I’d love to meet [Brown]…I fumbled around with the chords. I hope he’d forgive me.”
It was hardly the first time O’Malley has sang and played an acoustic guitar on the campaign trail. He’s been known to serenade potential voters with covers of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere” on other stops, and even checked in with Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” on The View. In fact, O’Mally has said folks are now bringing along their own guitars for him to play.
Of an earlier Iowa stop, this past April, the Huffington Post reported:
At a tavern in Des Moines on Thursday, a standard meet-and-greet with Iowa Democrats was morphed into a singalong when City Councilman Chris Coleman gave [Martin] O’Malley a guitar that Coleman had brought from home. Coleman wasn’t even the only attendee that day who came with an instrument in hopes that the former Maryland governor would strum a tune or two.
“The second guy who showed up was a little annoyed. He brought his [guitar] expecting me to play it, only to find that someone else had beaten him to it,” O’Malley told The Huffington Post. “So I played his for a little bit there in the corner just to say we had, and then we did the [selfie].”
Well, naturally! It didn’t happen if there’s no selfie or Youtube clip to prove it!
And to prove the Maryland governor can play, here’s O’Malley in 2009, with his longtime Irish band O’Malley’s March, putting a Celtic spin to Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” (Incidentally, Allmusic.com lists not one, not two, but five O’Malley’s March albums!)
(Photo of Martin O’Malley at top courtesy of Michael Rolands/The Record-Herald and Indianola Tribune.)