PJ Harvey, the English singer whose album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, was nominated for a Grammy Tuesday, recently announced tour dates in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and throughout North America. In April, she’ll perform in New York, Richmond, and Philadelphia, among other US cities. Not among the stops, though: DC, which serves as the backdrop for several songs on the album.
Harvey’s lead DC-oriented single, “The Community of Hope,” was singled out by ex-mayor Vince Gray and other local politicians for its depiction of Southeast DC. Chuck Thies, Gray’s campaign treasurer, said “PJ Harvey is to music what Piers Morgan is to cable news.” Outgoing Ward 7 Council member Yvette Alexander tweeted, “I respect all artist forms of expression, but this song does not reflect Ward 7!” The Community of Hope, an actual DC nonprofit from which Harvey’s song derives its name sent her a letter, criticizing the song for its “incomplete” portrayal.
But the collective outrage over a visiting artist interpreting her trip her made the entire city look like a cowtown. Harvey’s songs about DC were inspired, in part, by a tour from Washington Post reporter Paul Schwartzman last spring. Schwartzman didn’t know who Harvey was at the time. Still, to be snubbed from the resulting tour may be DC’s most legitimate reason yet to be miffed.