It's not every day you get the chance to write a song about the military industrial complex and the billionaires that move like dark shadows behind governments and wars. My friend Alec Steinwall and I were playing a gig together and on our break the subject of conversation got around to politics as it frequently did.  He mentioned he had a lyric for me and I had a look.  It was incredibly powerful and I could feel something straight away. I took it home and started working on it the following morning and was quickly inspired to write some music.  It felt like there were more verses than we needed and I started shaping the tune and tweaking a few words here and there.  Alec and I went back and forth for about another month before settling on the final version.  Initially I recorded an acoustic demo with a Dylanesque feel which won the political category of the Ontario Council Of Folk Festivals "Songs from the Heart" Contest.  In it's present form, it also won first prize in the Rock Category of the Unisong International Song Contest so I guess the tune is a pretty good genre jumper!

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to record with Doug Romanow at Fire Escape Studios as part of their indie program.  I had four hours recording time and I decided to take in Freedom By The Barrel.  I brought in a midi file with the arrangement mapped out on piano.  There was a great creative exchange as we worked fast and furious laying down acoustic guitars, Doug adding a bunch of keys and drum loops as well as "rocking the glock".  I remember the pressure was on to get my vocals done in the last 15 minutes before the session ended at midnight.  We had Justin Abedin come in later adding electric guitars and the track just grew in intensity.  

Recorded at Fire Escape Studios in Toronto. Engineered & Mixed by Doug Romanow and Mastered by Hank Williams. Produced by Doug Romanow & David Leask. Lead & BG vocals & acoustic guitars & piano - David Leask, B3 organ, glock, keys, drum & loop programming - Doug Romanow, Electric guitars - Justin Abedin. Bass - Clay Krasner

They got a Jesus face painted on the tank
Got democracy and battle plans,
The "Bill of Rights" and bombing runs     
They got a corporate box at the playoff games
Travel business class on the gravy train
Got lobbyists with great big silver tongues
And they got freedom by the barrel
Freedom by the barrel of a gun

Billionaires with high ideals
Gonna roll some folks beneath the wheels
Better grab your things get set to run
'Cause they got freedom by the barrel of a gun

They got fear campaigns making lots of noise
Their own truth laid out full of talking points
Got liberty their fathers fought and won
They'll bring vote machines with no paper trail
Put your country up for a fire sale
And after everything is said and done
They'll have freedom by the barrel
Freedom by the barrel of a gun

Billionaires with high ideals
Gonna roll some folks beneath the wheels
Better grab your things get set to run
"Cause once they siphon off their fee
There'll be nothing left for you and me
Just words that they will empty one by one
But they’ll have freedom by the barrel
Freedom by the barrel, Freedom by the barrel of a gun

© 2007 David Leask/Songs In The Air & Alec Steinwall

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