City Lights: P-Cats hit the studio with a ‘protest song’

It’s heartening sometimes to see a prediction come true.

Two months ago, I wrote a column about the P-Cats, a Huntington Beach blues-rock duo consisting of spouses Ed and Trace Paredes. I mentioned how the pair had embarked on a lifelong dream of fronting a band after Trace’s doctor diagnosed her with leukemia, and how, given the circumstances, there probably wouldn’t be any “half-heartedness” in their first release.

Last week, I called the Paredeses to check on their project. And it turns out that, indeed, they plan to start their career on a bracing note.

The P-Cats have booked their first day in the studio Friday, and the first song on the docket is “Big Sunday,” a tune inspired by the uprisings in the Middle East. Half a century ago, we might have referred to it as a protest song — and it’s not hard to picture a young Bob Dylan, harmonica around his neck, warbling the following lyrics:

“The tanks roll out, the streets turn blood red / The taste of freedom for their time / The young men hold, the old men fold / Release the kingdom from this crime.”

As protest songs go, this was an accidental one. Ed wrote the original version of “Big Sunday” years ago when he served as a church worship leader and noticed how attendance turned sparse every Super Bowl Sunday.

The song humorously begged the question of what would happen if the Rapture occurred while most of the congregation was skipping church to watch football. Ed filed the song away, then thought of it again when the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya flooded the nightly news.

“We just kind of took the religion out of the song and made it about people seeking freedom,” he said. “One day, there’ll be a big Sunday. It could be any day that there’s a big change.”

The new lyrics Ed and Trace e-mailed me address not only the street demonstrations, but also the social media that’s helped to carry their message. One verse describes a young man who risks arrest as he “streams the extremes / of the hell that he’s in.”

The Paredeses don’t have a backlog of other political anthems after “Big Sunday” — their next two songs slated for recording, they said, are a rough-and-tumble blues and a love ballad about an angel. Still, even if their album features only one topical cut, they’ll treasure the anomaly.

“You always worry about offending somebody,” Ed said. “But we decided to do it anyway. It’s good to have ideas in your music.”

City Editor MICHAEL MILLER can be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at