Posted June 23, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

ATO Digs Into Its Catalog for Anthemic Compilation ‘Silence Is Not an Option’

Artwork by Shanée Benjamin
Artwork by Shanée Benjamin

The independent New York-based record label ATO just released  Silence Is Not an Option, a compilation of anthems from the label’s catalog that explore issues of identity, community, social justice and resistance. 

Tracks include the following: Brittany Howard’s “Goat Head,” a song Howard wrote about growing up in the South with a white mother and a black father; Benjamin Booker/Mavis Staples’s “Witness”; Drive-By Truckers’ “What It Means, a song that Patterson Hood wrote in response to the police shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown; and Chicano Batman’s “Invisible People,” a song about people trying to tear one another apart.

The compilation also features “See Me,” a brand new song that finds Grammy-nominated R&B artist Emily King singing in a hushed voice over a gentle acoustic guitar-based melody. 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 in a press release about the tune. “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.” 

Currently available digitally, the album is available for  pre-order on vinyl exclusively on Bandcamp, which will donate all of its fees to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund. ATO will donate net proceeds from the compilation to causes supporting the Black Lives Matter global human rights movement, including 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.”

Artwork by Shanée Benjamin