Shelby Bottom Duo invites you to attend a free performance of their acclaimed show “A Musical History of Joe Hill & the Early Labor Movement,” Tuesday April 25, 11 am at the UAW hall, 6207 Centennial Blvd in west Nashville, Tenn.
By John Paul Wright
Nashville-based Shelby Bottom Duo (Michael August and Nell Levin) will perform their entertaining, multimedia educational show, A Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement in Louisville April 7. The show is set for 7 to 10 p.m. at Lettersong, 1501 Story Ave.
Tickets are $10 advance, $12 at the door. Space is limited so advance tickets are recommended. Click here for tickets.
Their companion CD Joe Hill Roadshow will be available at the show. Special guest will be Louisville’s John Paul Wright, Railroad Engineer, Songwriter, Drummer, Poet, Activist. www.railroadmusic.org
Songwriter Joe Hill is the precursor of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. He was immortalized when Joan Baez sang “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. A Swedish immigrant, Hill was a member of the international labor group, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies), active in the decade leading up to World War I. In 1914, Joe Hill was framed for two murders he did not commit. He was executed by a firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 19,1915. He subsequently became a labor icon.
Our Musical History includes live performances of Joe Hill songs along with a talk and images about Hill’s life, early labor struggles and the influence of the IWW’s innovative organizing strategies on movements today. Our goal is to share this vital slice of labor history with a wide range people so that we can all better understand why the revolutionary creativity exemplified by Joe Hill and the Wobblies is still relevant. In 2015, 100 years after Joe Hill’s execution, 40 concerts were held around the country celebrating his legacy. Shelby Bottom Duo organized and performed at the Nashville concert and performed at the Knoxville concert.
A Musical History has received funding for our performances from Metro Nashville Arts Commission THRIVE and Humanities Tennessee.
“Shelby Bottom Duo: Entertaining, irreverent social commentary, humanity and humor.” Bill Friskics-Warren, correspondent for the New York Times
“For those who wonder about the lineage of Woody Guthrie’s celebrated songs of social conscience and labor activism, the Shelby Bottom Duo & Friends have provided a compelling answer with the Joe Hill Roadshow—a collection that places top notch musicianship and heartfelt singing at the service of songs as meaningful now as they were when Hill wrote them a century ago.” —Jon Weisberger, International Bluegrass Music Association Songwriter of the Year and Print Media Person of the Year.
Tuesday, Feb. 21 2017, IBEW Local 175, Chattanooga, TN
Wednesday, March 15, 2017, Midsouth Peace & Justice Center, Memphis, TN
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN
Tuesday, April 25, 2017, UAW Local 737, Nashville, TN
Nashville-based Shelby Bottom Duo (Michael August and Nell Levin) have launched a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $5,000 to fund their Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement Tour and a companion CD of Joe Hill songs.
The project includes live performances of Joe Hill songs recorded on the CD along with a talk about Hill’s life, early labor struggles and the influence of the IWW’s innovative organizing strategies on movements today. Their goal is to share this vital slice of labor history with a wide range people so that we can all better understand why the revolutionary creativity exemplified by Joe Hill and the Wobblies is still relevant.
To support the project, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/shelbybottomduo
The Joe Hill Roadshow makes a return appearance in Lansing Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. at the MSU Community Music School. Tickets are $18, $5 for students. Performing are Magpie (Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino), Charlie King and George Mann.
If you haven’t heard these songs before, you’ll be surprised how funny and singable they are—and how much the lyrics ring true today.
“The IWW has always seemed to me to be remarkably free of ideological blinders,” King says. “They were clear-eyed about the owning class and the working class, and knew that at times of crisis your worst enemies may be found among the latter. They have been consistently pragmatic in their strategies—and their songs reflect that.”
“Joe Hill created a body of very practical, well-crafted songs that wear very well a century later,” says Charlie King. “The 1% are as tenacious as then, and the 99% need the demystifying reminders found in Wobbly songs. An injury to one is still an injury to all.”
This week marks the final week leading up to the 100th anniversary of the judicial murder of Joe Hill. The New York Daily News just run an article, as did Capital & Main, and the Salt Lake Tribune continues updating their Joe Hill page. And you might like to check out Joe Hill’s Living Message…
There are many, many events scheduled for the week, and we keep learning of new ones every day. And we know there will be soapboxing in many locations. Here’s a breakdown of events, organized by state:
Australia: The New South Wales Teachers Federation is hosting a forum on the occasion of the centenary
Bo Widerberg’s film Joe Hill will be shown in a newly restored and digitally remastered version produced by the National Library of Sweden as part of a Joe Hill Centenary event in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday, Nov. 19. Victorian Trades Hall, Lygon and Victoria Streets, Carlton, commencing at 5.00 p.m.
Germany: Concert: 100 years later: Tribute Concert for a true rebel that never died. Berlin. Bernd Köhler & Blandine Bonjour, Geigerzähler, The Overall Brigade. Supamolly, Jessner Str. 41, D-10247 Berlin. Thursday, Nov. 19, 6:00 – 12:00 p.m.
California: Tom Morello & Friends Joe Hill Memorial Concert. Tuesday, Nov. 17, 8:00 p.m. Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles. Performers include: Tom Morello, Joan Baez, Ziggy Marley, Van Dyke Parks, Boots Riley, Rich Robinson, The Last Internationale, Tim Armstrong, Wayne Kramer, Jill Sobule, David Rovics, and Built for the Sea. Tickets $20.
Concert: “Don’t Mourn, Organize: The Musical Legacy of Joe Hill,” Chico, California. More than a dozen musicians will share music by Joe Hill and inspired by him. Thursday, Nov. 19, 7:00 p.m., Blue Room Theater, 139 West 1st Street, Chico.
Colorado: Concert: John McCutcheon, “Joe Hill’s Last Will.” Denver, CO. Bread & Roses Cultural Center. Friday, Nov. 20.
Illinois: Commemoration: Joe Hill funeral re-enactment with a casket, brass band and several performers (including Swedish and Italian). Bucky Halker, Jon Langford, Sally Timms, and more. Sunday, Nov. 22, The Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia Ave, Chicago.
Exhibition: Joe Hill 100 Years Part 5. URI-EICHEN Gallery, 2101 S Halsted, Chicago. Posters and other memorabilia from the Industrial Workers of the World Collection, Molly Crabapple, Illinois Labor History Society, etc. continues through Nov. 26.
Iowa: Concert: John McCutcheon, “Joe Hill’s Last Will.” Saturday, Nov. 21, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Legion Arts.
Missouri: Commemoration Concert: Danny Cox, Dr. Joyce Downing, Tom James, Bill Clause, Kasey Raush & Scott Stanton, Ariana Eakle, Bob & Diana Suckiel and more. Friday, Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m. Trailside Center, 9901 Holmes Rd.,Kansas City. $15 donation. Be prepared to sing.
New York: 11/5-28/2015 The Subversive Theatre Collective presents Si Kahn’s play “Joe Hill’s Last Will.” Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Tickets $25, $20 for students, seniors and union members, Thursdays pay what you can. Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Avenue, Buffalo NY.
Don’t Mourn, Organize! Performances in Celebration of Labor Troubadour Joe Hill. New York City. Amy Goodman ofDemocracy Now! will lead a group of musicians and actors in a rousing evening honoring the great labor troubadour Joe Hill: Musicians Allison Moorer, Stephen Said, Son of Nun and Jamie Kilstein, actors Susan Pourfar and Brian Jones, comedian Hari Kondabolu, and writer Walter Mosley. Friday, Nov. 20, 7:00 p.m. New School’s Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall, 66 W 12th St., Manhattan. The event celebrates publication of the new edition of The Letters of Joe Hill. Admission free, but tickets required.
Oregon: Concert: Anne Feeney, Honoring the Legacy of Joe Hill. Sponsored by NW Oregon Labor Council. Thursday, Nov. 19, 8 p.m. Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., Portland.
Pennsylvania: Former IWW General Secretary-Treasurer Alexis Buss will discuss the life and legacy of Joe Hill, and in particular his writings collected in the new edition of The Letters of Joe Hill (for which she collected extensive new material and updated and expanded the notes). John Braxton will sing Joe Hill’s songs. Thursday, Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m., Swedish American Historical Museum, Philadelphia.
An Exhibition on life and legacy of Joe Hill continues at American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia, through Spring.
Tennessee: Joe Hill Roadshow, Jack Herranen & the Little Red Band, Black Atticus, Shelby Bottom Duo, Matt Kinman & Friends. Saturday, Nov. 21, Potluck 5:00 p.m., Show 7:00 p.m. Candoro Marble Building, 4450 Candora Ave., Knoxville. $5 donation.
Utah: Joe Hill Roadshow. Otis Gibbs, Duncan Phillips, Kate Macleod, Walter Parks and many special guests. Friday, Nov. 20, 8:00 p.m. The Stateroom, 638 South State St., Salt Lake City. $15 admission.
11/16/2015 Lecture: William Adler will speak on The Man Who Never Died: The Life and Legacy of Joe Hill After a Century, Monday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m., Dumke Legacy Hall in the Hurst Learning Center at Weber State University, Ogden; free.
11/18/2015 Lecture: William Adler, author of The Man Who Never Died, speaks Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. at Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City; free.
11/19/2015 7:21 a.m. Si Kahn & John McCutcheon will stand vigil on the very spot where Joe Hill was tied to a chair, blindfolded and, with a paper heart pinned to his chest, shot to death by a firing squad. Anyone in the Salt Lake City area is invited to join. Vigil to mark centenary of the execution of Joe Hill. Sugar House Park, 1400 East 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 6:00 p.m.
Washington: Linda Allen, George Mann, David Rovics and Rebel Voices (Janet Stecher and Susan Lewis). Sunday, Nov. 15, 7:00 p.m. Unitarian Universalist church, 1207 Ellsworth St., Bellingham. Sponsored by Bellingham GMB, Industrial Workers of the World. $10 – $20, no one turned away for lack of funds.
A host of downloads of the soapbox action guide from the region suggest that one should be looking out for soapboxers around the state.
Concert: “Joe Hill…The Man Who Never Died… 100 Years Ago!” Featuring Gary Kanter, Friends & Fellow Travelers. Friday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m. Couth Buzzard Books, 8310 Greenwood Ave., Seattle.
Wisconsin: Concert: Bucky Halker and Lil’ Rev,“Anywhere But Utah – The Songs of Joe Hill.” Thursday, Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m., Beulah Briton House, 2590 S Superior St., Bayview. Donation.
Joe Hill Roadshow, West Coast leg. Nov. 5 through Nov. 20. Chris Chandler, George Mann and David Rovics, with special guests.
The southern leg of the Joe Hill Roadshow kicks off Sunday, Oct. 4 in Atlanta.
10/4/2015 Concert: Joe Hill Roadshow, Atlanta, Georgia, 7:00 p.m. With I Want Whiskey, George Mann, Lee Furey, Jumpin’ Jesus Christers, and Craig Rafuse. Eyedrum (www.eyedrum.org), 88 Forsyth Street, Atlanta. $10 – $20 sliding scale.
10/10/2015 Concert: Shelby Bottom String Band, The Cantrells, Todd Sharp, Jack Herranen & The Little Red Band and others commemorate Joe Hill. Nashville, Saturday Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m.
Douglas Corner, 2106 8th Avenue South, Nashville TN 37204. Tickets $12 advance, $15 at the door. (Checks can be mailed to TAP, PO Box 60338, Nashville TN 37206) Sponsored by Tennessee Alliance for Progress, Nashville Peace and Justice Center.
10/17/2015 Concert: Joe Hill Roadshow in Pittsburgh. Anne Feeney, Mike Stout and the Human Union, and Smokehouse Lightning. Saturday, Oct. 17, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. The Pump House (location of the Historic Battle of Homestead), 880 E. Waterfront Dr., Munhall, Pennsylvania.
This weekend is looking to be a busy one for Joe Hill centennial events.
We kick off with a commemoration in Salt Lake City, at the site of the execution:
9/5/2015 Concert: The Joe Hill Organizing Committee hosts a day-long celebration of Joe Hill’s life and work Saturday, Sept. 5, at Sugarhouse Park (which stands on the site of the prison where Joe Hill was held and executed) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Noon to 8 p.m. Judy Collins, Mark Ross, Anne Feeney, David Rovics, Mischief Brew, Joe Jencks, and many more. Free.
through Sept. 7: Exhibit: Joe Hill – martyren från Gävle. Länsmuseet Gävleborg, Gävle, Sweden. The Museum website offers photos of the exhibits alongside an extensive text offered in English and Swedish. The Swedish version has a much richer array of photographs, both from the era and of the exhibit itself.
9/7/2015 Labor Day Concert: Bucky Halker sings labor songs at the historic Pullman site in honor of Labor Day and Joe Hill. Pullman Historical Site (Chicago suburbs), Noon – 2:00 p.m., free.
Joe Hill 100 Roadshow launches in Sweden next Friday!
Bucky Halker’s new album, Anywhere But Utah: Songs of Joe Hill, is being released. Here’s a link to an article about the CD that has appeared in several papers, including one issued in Salt Lake City. We hope to have copies to sell through JoeHill100.com soon.
The Events page is being continuously updated; in the last week we have added shows throughout the midwest and the south, and we hope to get details up on the West Coast leg of the Roadshow in the next several days.
We Never Forget! Joe Hill Lives! Don’t Mourn, Organize!