Miko Marks has returned with her first album in 13 years, Our Country.
The Michigan-born singer faced roadblock after roadblock as a Black musician in the white- and male-dominated country music industry throughout the early ’00s. It resulted in her exit from recording music after releasing her sophomore album It Feels Good in 2007, though in the following years she continued to perform at a residency in Oakland, California.
The seeds of Marks’ return were sowed some years later when she reached out to two musicians she previously performed with, Steve Wyreman and Justin Phipps. They offered Marks a record deal with Phipps’ label Redtone Records, and from there, work on Our Country began.
The ten tracks on Our Country were written throughout 2020 and performed by Marks alongside Redtone Records’ house band the Resurrectors. The LP’s highlights include its lively opening track “Ancestors” and the emotional “Goodnight America.” The album closes with “Not Be Moved,” a traditional hymn adapted by Marks to show her solidarity with civil rights movements and protests around the world.
“It was sung in marches and meetings as people were fighting for change,” Marks shared of “Not Be Moved” on Instagram. “We kept the traditional chorus and wrote new verses. For me the message is about standing strong in the midst of adversity, and that message feels very relevant right now. In communities like Oakland, where I live, there are a lot of forces pushing on people, from police brutality to displacement. It’s important to claim our strength and stand up against these forces.”
Listen to Our Country here: