Labor Day Weekend Joe Hill Commemoration in Salt Lake City

joe-hill-who-is-singing-300x300Plans are firming up for a huge Joe Hill Centennial Celebration Saturday, Sept. 5, in Salt Lake City, Utah, with eight acts committed for a day-long free concert on the main stage, and several more on a side stage.

The free concert will be held Noon to 8 pm at Sugar House Park, on the site of the now-demolished prison where Joe Hill was murdered by Utah authorities 100 years ago.

Judy Collins will headline; other committed performers include Anne Feeney, Mark Ross, David Rovics, Joe Jencks and Mischief Brew perform on the main stage; additional performers (including an entire side stage) to be announced.

Commemorations Concert tour

Joe Hill tributes in Great Barrington & Paris

NE Roadshow.Guthrie

A new edition of Franklin Rosemont’s book on Joe Hill, translated into French by Frédéric Bureau, will be released May 22.
A discussion of the book and performances of Joe Hill’s songs in French and English by Fred Alpi and several others will be held June 6 at the CNT offices, 33 rue des Vignoles, 75020 Paris, France.
Commemorations Concert tour

Joe Hill Concert opens LaborFest, San Francisco

June 2015: John McCutcheon celebrates the release of his new album of Joe Hill’s music, Joe Hill’s Last Will, with a series of concerts in California (and one show in Virginia).

David Rovics will headline a Joe Hill Commemoration Concert opening LaborFest 2015 July 5 at ILWU Local 34 Hall in San Francisco.  On July 5, 1934,  two longshore strike supporters  were gunned down by police, igniting the 1934 San Francisco general strike.  LaborFest is an annual working class cultural, music and film festival.

Last week’s Wall of Power Radio Hour includes a segment on the Joe Hill Roadshow, with live performances and interviews with Bucky Halker, Jan Hammerlund, Professor Peter Rachleff, and a rousing tune by the Twin Cities Labor Chorus. Minnesotans can stream it at (the site requires listeners to verify that they are listening from Minnesota).

Commemorations Concert tour

Joe Hill Roadshow video

JoeHill.TV has posted a 50-minute video of excerpts from the Joe Hill Roadshow: null

The site also hosts an interview with U. Utah Phillips, the Bo Widerberg film “The Ballad of Joe Hill” (the film is mostly in English with some Swedish), and an eclectic range of other material include documentaries, interviews, concerts, etc.

Commemorations Concert tour

Joe Hill Roadshow Midwest Tour a Success

The Midwest leg of the Joe Hill Roadshow has finished, drawing sell-out crowds at some venues and bringing Joe Hill’s music to several cities. Lil’ Rev, Bucky Halker and JP Wright did most of the shows, joined by Anne Feeney and Jan Hammarlund on many stops and a veritable host of musicians for the Madison show. Photos from several shows are in the gallery.

Bucky Halker & Little Rev in St Paul
Bucky Halker & Little Rev in St Paul

A preview of Bucky Halker’s forthcoming CD (which will be released in June) of Joe Hill’s songs was available at every stop — we will add it to the JoeHill100 store as soon as it’s available.

David Rovics’ Joe Hill European tour concludes with three shows in Switzerland this weekend.

John McCutcheon kicks off a tour celebrating the release of his new album of Joe’s songs, Joe Hill’s Last Will, June 5. Several shows are scheduled in California, with a June 19 show in Virginia.  There’s a couple more dates set for late November in Madison, Wisconsin, and Maryland.

We hope to release dates for the Southern and East Coast legs of the Joe Hill roadshow soon. The Joe Hill centenary t-shirts are available in our store (we’ll get photos up as soon as we can get someone to model them in decent lighting – there are some shots in the photo gallery, but they hardly do the design justice) in sizes ranging from small to triple XL. Coming soon are listings for songbooks, buttons, and more.

Commemorations Media

Video podcast on the Joe Hill Roadshow

An hour-long podcast (also broadcast on local access cable in Madison) showcases the Joe Hill Roadshow. Norm Stockwell (a member of the national organizing committee) and host John Quinlan spend an hour discussing the life and legacy of Joe Hill, and share clips from some of the musicians who will be performing on the Midwest leg of the tour.
This show was produced at the facilities of the Sun Prairie (WI) Media Center.  It will be widely distributed via other community media stations throughout Wisconsin.  While some of the broadcast is Madison-specific, Norm provides extensive background on the national nature of the tour, and both the local and national resonance of the themes it embraces.
At the outset, we share the Phil Ochs/Billy Bragg youtube video that chronicles Joe Hill’s life through picture and song, and use clips throughout the show to offer viewers a sampling of the repertoire of eight of the participating artists.  Here’s the link to the video:
Commemorations Concert tour

John McCutcheon: Joe Hill’s Last Will

Folksinger John McCutcheon has released a new album, Joe Hill’s Last Will, marking the centenary of his execution. His blog describes the album this way:

Joe Hill was a songwriter for the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies, back in the early 20th century. He was the ultimate utilitarian songwriter, composing pieces to be used at meetings and picket lines and rallies. He wrote songs to be sung and to be used. To be useful.

His songs “The Preacher & the Slave” and “Casey Jones, the Union Scab” are what some people know of his work. But veteran folk musician and longtime labor activist, John McCutcheon, has released an album bringing Joe Hill’s music to a whole new audience. With fresh arrangements, stunning musicianship, and released on a palette that makes these songs feel as though they were written today rather than a century ago, there is a life and vitality that is both rare and refreshing.

Joe Hill was executed by a Utah firing squad at dawn, November 19, 1915. This album is being released in honor of the centenary of Hill’s death.

Songs on the album: Casey Jones, It’s a Long Way Down to the Soup Line, The Tramp, Joe Hill’s Last Will, Mr. Block, What We Want, The Preacher & the Slave, Overalls & Snuff/The Connaughtman’s Rambles, The Wooden Shoe/Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay, The Rebel Girl, Stung Right, Where the Fraser River Flows, There Is Power in a Union

Tour dates:

Saturday, June 6, Sutter Creek Theater, 44 Main St., Sutter Creek CA

Sunday, June 7, Grass Valley Center for the Arts 314 W Main St., Grass Valley CA

Monday, June 8, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company 1075 E 20th St., Chico CA

Wednesday, June 10,  Fresno CA

Thursday, June 11, Church of the Brethren, 2301 Woodland Ave., Modesto CA

Friday, Jun 12, St. James Episcopal Church, 37051 Cabrillo Terrace, Fremont CA

Saturday, June 13,  Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison, Berkeley CA

Sunday, June 14, Sebastiani Theater, 476 First St. East, Sonoma CA

Friday, June 19, Singleton Center for Performing Arts, 922 Park Ave., Richmond, Virginia

Commemorations Concert tour

Joe Hill Road Show: Midwestern Leg

roadshow.smallJoe Hill Road Show. Concerts in Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, St. Paul, and more.

Friday, May 1: Chicago: HideOut, 1354 W Wabansia Ave.

Sunday, May 3: Batavia, IL: Fox Valley Folk Society

Tuesday, May 5: Sheboygan WI: Paradigm Café, 1202 N 8th St.

Wednesday, May 6: Madison, WI: Barrymore Theater, 2090 Atwood Ave.

Thursday, May 7: Green Bay, WI: Luna Café, 330 Main Ave.

Friday, May 8: Milwaukee, WI: Anodyne Café, 224 W Bruce St.

Saturday, May 9:  Oshkosh, WI: New Moon Café, 401 N Main St.

Sunday, May 10: St. Paul, MN: East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St.


Please check tour listings for additional special guests:

Anne Feeney is the best labor singer in North America,” according to the late great Utah Phillips. This Pittsburgh-based activist has a dozen critically acclaimed recordings embodying her bottomless songbag, as well as her own inspiring and often hilarious original songs.  Audiences love Anne’s humor, hope, and her high-energy performances. Celebrating 45 years of comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable.

Since emerging on the new folk scene in Sweden in 1972, Jan Hammarlund’s songs of struggle, liberation and love have garnered him the admiration of acoustic music fans and activists all over Scandinavia. In addition to his popular original compositions, Jan has translated the songs of Violeta Parra, Bertolt Brecht, Malvina Reynolds and various French cabaret-style composers. Jan Hammarlund is more than a musical storyteller, he is a singing historian.

Fusing folk, blues, honky-tonk country, straight ahead rock, and jazz, Bucky Halker has recorded a dozen albums, including his double-CD, The Ghost of Woody Guthrie (2012), an original music tribute to Guthrie, and Welcome to Labor Land (2007), his renditions of labor protest songs from Illinois. Bucky, a Ph.D. in labor history, is the author of For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-1895 and the producer-scholar for the Folksongs of Illinois CD series. He is currently recording a CD of Joe Hill’s songs to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Hill’s execution in 1915. Rick Kogan recently referred to Bucky as a “missionary, spreading the words and redefining folk music in new and vital and exciting ways.”  Chicago Tribune (March 23, 2014)

Lil Rev is an award-winning storyteller, entertainer and rooted multi-instrumentalist. A former teacher, bus driver and self-proclaimed music historian, he has been called “A Wisconsin Treasure” by the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Folk Center and Pete Seeger said, “Listen to this! Lil Rev is great!” Lil Rev tours North American teaching ukulele clinics, performing his one-man shows of Jewish Cultural Heritage and concertizing at traditional arts venues from coast to coast. 

JP Wright is a singing Locomotive Engineer and union activist. His music centers around his work at the railroad as well as his involvement in the Rank and File reform labor movement. His music is influenced by folk and traditional Kentucky mountain music. He is currently Co-Chair of Railroad Workers United and a delegate for the Kentucky IWW General Membership Branch. 

Commemorations Concert tour

Songs of Joe Hill Tour: Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland

Songs of Joe Hill: April 3-May 17: Joe Hill Tour in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland with David Rovics and Kristian Svensson. Details at

Songs of Joe Hill tour: April 3: Nordsjællands Efterskole, Aggebovej 34, Helsinge, Denmark

April 7: Lilla Kulkturhuset, Lund, Sweden

April 8: Gemenskapen, Spånehusgatan 83, Malmö, Sweden

April 9: Medborgarhuset, Lönsboda, Hässleholm, Sweden

April 10: Oktober Bogcafé, Vesterfælledvej 1B1750, Copenhagen, Denmark

April 11: Perrong 23, Hässleholm, Sweden

April 13: Metropol Hörby, Lund, Sweden

April 14: ABF Huset, Trelleborg, Sweden

April 15: Folkets hus, Ängelholm, Sweden

April 17: Kulturhuset, Jönköping, Sweden

April 18: Cyklopen, Stockholm, Sweden

April 19: Joe Hill Museum, Gävle, Sweden

April 20: Runö Conference Centre, Åkersberga, Sweden

April 21: Kafé 44, Stockholm, Sweden

April 23: Folkets Hus, Copenhagen, Denmark

April 28: Langsøhus, Silkeborg, Denmark

April 29: Kulturhuset Silkeborg, Silkeborg, Denmark

April 30: 1000 Fryd, Aalborg, Denmark

May 2: Klub – Bildung & Kultur am Besenbinderhof 62, Hamburg, Germany

May 15: Landquart, Switzerland

May 16: Wallhalla, Davos, Switzerland

May 17: Rössli Bar, Bern, Switzerland

Commemorations Joe Hill songs

Joe Hill’s Last Will (1915)

First published in the March 1916 edition (9th edition; “Joe Hill Memorial Edition”) of the IWW Little Red Songbook.

(Written in his cell, November 18, 1915, on the eve of his execution)

My will is easy to decide,
For there is nothing to divide.
My kind don’t need to fuss and moan —
“Moss does not cling to a rolling stone.”

My body? Ah, If I could choose,
I would to ashes it reduce,
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow.

Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my last and final will.
Good luck to all of you.

— Joe Hill

Introduced and read by Utah PhillipsSteve Earle,  discussed by Tom Paxton; introduced and sung (to new tunes) by Fred Alpi and Chico Schwall.