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
A memorial to Joe Hill was unveiled in January 2017 at a ceremony attended by labor activists, folksingers, and others. ILWU retirees helped raise money for the 8-foot-wide plaque. http://www.ocweekly.com/news/legendary-labor-singer-organizer-joe-hill-gets-immortalized-in-san-pedro-7866413
“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
We have a wide array of Joe Hill and labor-oriented material suitable for gifts, including:
Bucky Halker: Anywhere But Utah (Songs of Joe Hill)
A Full Life: James Connolly The Irish Rebel
2017 Solidarity Forever Labor History Calendar
Direct Action Gets the Goods women’s cut T-shirts
The Shelby Bottom Duo singing songs of Joe Hill
Joe Hill’s letters and other writings
the definitive biography of Joe Hill, by William Adler (the site lists it at full price; we have a large quantity of discounted copies arriving shortly which will be available in quantities of 3 or more at very attactive prices; drop us a line at email@example.com if interested)
and full color Christmas Cards drawn by Joe Hill in his Salt Lake City jail cell
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.”
Saturday, September 24: Somerville Public Library, 2 pm. 79 Highland Avenue, Somerville MA.
Wednesday, September 28: Off the Common bookstore,71 S Pleasant St., Amherst MA, 7 pm .
Tuesday, October 11: Wooden Shoe Books, 704 South St., Philadelphia PA, 7 pm. (Cosponsored by Bindlestiff Books)