Ashley Peacock is a firm believer in revolution.
He doesn’t necessarily want bloodshed. He wants a transformation that shakes the foundations of stubborn hearts and closed minds.
Peacock sings of his vision in “Revolution,” a hard-rock-edged single by the White Wolves, due for audio and video release across music channels nationwide Nov. 2. The track is a theme for disenfranchised communities and has potential to become an anthem in Peacock’s hometown Flint, where he says art can lead social change.
“The revolution starts with a paintbrush in your hand,” says Peacock, 39. “The revolution starts with a pen. The revolution starts in front of a microphone.”
The song features lyrics and an accompanying video that references the Flint water emergency, women’s rights activism and other timely issues.
Using his vocal gifts to deliver a lyrical call to action, the singer is featured in an unusual style of collaboration with Nashville-based White Wolves production team Todd Burman and Chuck Feltner. With no official performers, White Wolves uses rotating musical personnel, teaming Peacock with veteran hit-makers 3 Doors Down giving instrumentals for what was Peacock’s first hard-rock recording.
“It’s completely different. One of the reasons I was so excited about this is that this model has never been done in the music industry,” says Peacock.
The White Wolves prototype is more brand than band, “free of genre,” “free of artist,” and “free of albums,” focusing on individual songs written by Feltner and Burman, Peacock says. Featuring Terry McDermott, “Burning It Down,” the first White Wolves single’s accompanying video, generated 50,000 YouTube views.
“If I had to put a word to what they’re doing and why it’s special, it’s innovation.” Peacock says.
While he acknowledges being viewed as “the face of privilege” – a white man in America – Peacock was honored to sing lyrics uplifting lower-economic and often overlooked citizens like many of his Flint neighbors.
“This particular song is unique,” he says. “One of the reasons they pulled me in for
‘Revolution’ wasn’t just my connection with Chuck, it was my connection with Flint.”
While living and working in Cincinnati and Nashville as a touring artist, Peacock met Feltner, who invited him to the White Wolves’ Nashville-based studio to record the track.
He returned to Flint in 2013 and opened the Soul Foundry recording studio a year later. Today, Soul Foundry functions more as a talent agency for local musicians, with a half-dozen collaborators from producers to publicists. Soul Foundry also promotes events like “Conversation Peace,” a speaker series designed to inspire creative entrepreneurs. Nearing its fifth month, the next event is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 1 at Ferris Wheel, and features Flint native James Thigpen Jr.
Like “Conversation Peace’s” guests, Peacock says the local community has a wealth of experience that isn’t always reflected in mainstream media.
Flint’s Ashley Peacock is featured with rock band 3 Doors Down in the second song that will be released by the White Wolves Nov. 2.
“Flint has a lot of story to tell, but it feels like it’s choked,” he adds.
“They wanted to give me this song and I wanted to help Flint feel like, ‘Hey, you have the right to stand up and speak for yourself.’ The song isn’t about taking up arms against a government. The song is just about getting people to have a voice.”
Peacock’s favorite lyric from “Revolution” fits the community he represents in the song: “‘We need a breakthrough.’ That’s the first line of the chorus, and every time I talk to someone in Flint who’s had a brick wall thrown up in they’re lives, they’re tired. They say, ‘We need a breakthrough.’”
But Peacock knows breakthroughs in life aren’t handed out on Flint’s street corners.
“We gotta take it,” he says.
Lead photo by Jaime Lynn Photography