Chicago’s Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble release “Keep Your Mind Free,” a new single from their forthcoming album, NOW (International Anthem), out April 9th digitally and July 9th physically. It’s the album’s second single, following “Now (Forever Momentary Space).”
“Keep Your Mind Free” is focuses on our mental health individually and collectively during this difficult time. “Pretty soon the whole world…is gonna go crazy” warns a voice at the top of the track. An ominous sample loop from Locks shepherds in the Black Monument choir and later, Ben LaMar Gay’s wailing trumpet solo cuts through. The choir’s soaring voices sing about how/why to “Keep Your Mind”; if/when you are so NOT free in so many ways.
“The initial idea behind ‘Keep Your Mind Free’ grew out of an image I created for an action to support the decarceration and furloughing of eligible people in prison to help save lives under the threat of COVID-19. The phrase was a message of encouragement to those locked up having to deal with the virus in a place where they cannot socially distance nor do most of the things the rest of us can do to avoid infection. As the pandemic raged on and the intensity of fear and isolation set in, it made sense to extend this same sentiment out to EVERYONE through song. It’s true that we all need illumination in dark days. In a time that hurts the heart and body, in a time that sequesters us from our loved ones, in a time where safety is not a given, in a locked-down world, to be liberated from restraint we have to keep our minds free.” – Damon Locks