Cape Elizabeth musician Jeff Badger

Although the coronavirus is shutting a lot of things down, it can’t stop creativity and ingenuity. Despite not being able to play shows in front of physical audiences, several local acts have been making the most of the current situation by playing virtual shows, primarily on Facebook Live and Instagram Live. Others are pushing sales of their music and merchandise, while others are forging ahead with writing and recording new material.

Case in point is Cape Elizabeth singer-songwriter and visual artist Jeff Badger (jeffbadger.com), who stayed up until 2 a.m. about week ago, working on a song with what he described as “manic, creative energy ruminating on the weirdness in a fight-or-flight panic,” while also thinking about the absurdity of the entire coronavirus situation. “Like most of the art I make, it usually goes through a filter of some satirical humor. I recorded it in the woods behind my house the next morning, as the new snow was melting,” said Badger in an email.

The end result is an acoustic folk tune that’s a little over two minutes long called “No Corona.”

“I’m heading off to the island, where they ain’t got no corona/Just pine trees and rockweed and eagles in the nest/You can come to see me, but through binoculars only/Out on the island where they ain’t got no corona” are the first few lines of the song. Badger goes on to sing about packing rice and beans into the back of his Toyota, ditching the car at the boat launch and paddling toward the sun. His lyricism is keenly descriptive as he speaks of making friends with the deer ticks and sleeping in cool, green clover. Badger’s voice is sturdy and sincere, and although the song has a whimsical feel to it, there’s an underlying poignancy.

Badger said that during the summer, he and some friends often go camping with their families on a small island in Penobscot Bay, and he’s long thought of it as an ideal place to head to if “society goes sideways.” This sparked the embers, and Badger wrote “No Corona” in the style of Woody Guthrie’s dust-bowl anthems because their themes seem to parallel what we are experiencing now. “History doesn’t repeat itself, but if often rhymes,” said Badger.

When asked about how he feels about processing his experiences in the world through art, Badger said that it’s absolutely critical and that there’s also an emotional element. “In the future, there will be plenty of writing and analysis about the factual nature of this situation, but only the art and music will convey how people were feeling.”


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