Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 BBU Heritage Awards

From Gerry Katz, BBU.

The Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2009 BBU Heritage Awards. The awards are presented each year by the BBU to honor those who have made substantial contributions to furthering bluegrass in New England. The awards will be presented during the 24th annual Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, Presidents Day Weekend, February 13 – 15, 2009, at the Sheraton Framingham, Framingham, MA. More information on the festival at

This year’s Music Industry winners are:

Al Hawkes:

Musician, entertainer, record label owner, and collector Al Hawkes has contributed to bluegrass and country music in nearly every possible capacity. In 1956 in Westbrook, Maine, he founded Event Records and released early recordings by such key artists as The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover, Charlie Bailey (of the Bailey Brothers), Dick Curless, and many more. Born in 1930, Hawkes formed his first band in high school, singing and playing an array of stringed instruments. To this day, he continues to be an active performer, and has received over 25 awards. In addition to releasing a number of important recordings on Event, Hawkes is one of the foremost record collectors in New England, whose archive includes over 40,000 45s, 78s, and LPs.

Sandy Sheehan:

Since 1970, Sandy’s Music and its proprietor Sandy Sheehan have been essential lynchpins
in the Boston area’s traditional music scene. First captivated by folk, old-time, Celtic, blues, and bluegrass music in the 1960s, Sheehan established Sandy’s as a one-stop shop where one could peruse (and pick) a diverse range of stringed instruments, browse through new and old traditional music LPs and CDs, have instrument repairs done, take a music lesson, and get advice from the laconic, chain-smoking, banjo-picking owner. Sandy’s quickly became a hub for the traditional music community, with Sheehan hosting (and continuing to host) weekly Monday-night jams at the store and occasional old-time nights at Johnny D.’s. Since 1986, Sheehan has also hosted the popular Traditional Folk program on WUMB.

This year’s Musician award winners are:

The Original Members of Joe Val and the New England Bluegrass Boys:

Founded in 1970, Joe Val and the New England Bluegrass Boys featu
red Joe Val on mandolin and vocals, Herb Applin on guitar and vocals, Bob French on banjo and vocals, and bassist Bob Tidwell. With Val’s stratospheric tenor leading the way, the New England Bluegrass Boys worked tirelessly to bring traditional, hard-driving, Monroe-derived bluegrass to New England audiences. Through their riveting performances and a series of albums on the Cambridge-based Rounder label (beginning with Rounder’s third release, 1971’s One Morning In May), they helped to develop a fervent, dedicated audience for bluegrass and stringband music in New England – a community that still thrives today and gathers annual at the award-winning festival that bears Val’s name.

The Boston Bluegrass Union is a 501(c)3 non-profit, all volunteer organization, dedicated to preserving and promoting this original American music genre. Celebrating our 33rd season, the BBU is the premier source for events, education, and information on bluegrass music in the Northeast.

Monday, January 26, 2009

trash irony at solemn moments

Continuing the series of posts related to Pete Seeger's participation at the inauguration. These are two of the finest pieces I have read (and I've read scores).

Kudos, Barista and Hak Pak Sak!

trash irony at solemn moments

Woody Guthrie and his famous gittar

Obama is President, inaugurated behind so many layers of glass and love that not even kryptonite could hurt him, and he has whacked Guantanamo Bay and returned the US to the Geneva Convention.

It feels more decisive than Our Kevvy, but then were a few more egregious things that he could put to a short, sharp stop with the 21st century equivalent of a sharpened stake through the heart.

Being the curmudgeon that I am, what moved me was the monumental stuff-ups created by HBO. Well, “stuff-ups” only works as a description if you still have some faith in the audience. Here is a piece from Screen Hub, inspired ultimately by Crooked Timber. And the fact that a Pete Seeger album was just about the first LP I ever bought, right back in 1968. After Donovan, I think.

HBO, broadcasters of the ‘Concert for Obama’, must be really hoping the mainstream editorials don’t find this particular mistake. Letting freedom ring, indeed..

The concert for Obama has a few media snafus which will be remembered. Probably to counter the use of a homophobic pastor in the actual ceremony, the concert opened with a blessing from a gay bishop.

HBO failed to run it, leaving an important section of the entertainment community royally pissed off.

But it gets worse… bear with me for a little background here.

Pete Seeger is closely associated with ‘This Land is Our Land’, which was originally written by Woody Guthrie in 1940. Most versions, as sung in schools and at treacly patriotic moments, drop two contentious verses, which go

“There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office – I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me.”

Seeger, now almost ninety, half sang and half spoke it at the concert, as the audience bellowed along, and he grinned like a demon through the extra verses.

The clip has been posted on YouTube, with its lines on private property.

HBO has ordered YouTube to take the clip down, on the grounds that they own the recording. True enough, but they could have blinked, or even put the whole concert up themselves. Instead, they created a fine mess.

To make matters worse, HBO has not gone after other clips - the Springsteen piece is still there, undisturbed, with “Let Freedom Ring”.

Various people have reposted it, so HBO has been playing whack-a-mole across YouTube.

You can still find the clip on the net, courtesy of its German broadcasters. The Seeger performance is here. I guess the Europeans bought the internet rights in the package and HBO doesn’t have technical control over that part of the borderless internet.

Thereby hanging several tales on the one epic moment.

The concert, by the way, was supposed to feature a trained eagle flying overhead as Obama arrived, but it crashed. It was so cold it seems the poor bird just went thud.

That mildly pretentious “This machine kills fascists” image of Woody Guthrie has been posted many times on Flickr, along with pictures of variations used as stencil art on public walls. Almost all the posters refuse to use a Creative Commons license, which is like a teeny, teeny version of the HBO brainfart.

Crooked Timber’s commenters were onto it early.


Hak Pak Sak

Pete Seeger, The Machine that Kills Fascists

What I am writing in this post is old news to many in America but not so well known abroad. One of the highlights of the US presidential inauguration celebration last week was a final act of the day-long outdoor public concert held on the Washington Mall — nonagenarian (may he live to be 120!) folksinger legend Pete Seeger joining pop star Bruce Springsteen to lead an audience of tens of thousands in a rousing performance of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

Guthrie, a rural- turned urban-folksinger during the Great Depression wrote” This Land is Your Land” in 1940 as a people- rather than divinity-based popular front alternative to Tin Pan Alley composer Irving Berlin’s maudlin “God Bless America.” Berlin’s song, originally written as a Broadway entertainment ditty, made it into the mainstream in the late 1930’s when it became one of the theme songs of North Carolina-born radio singer Kate Smith. By the late-1980s, the song had morphed — beyond anything Russian-Jewish immigrant Berlin might have ever imagined — into an unofficial anthem of the political right. Indeed, at the start of the “War Against Terror” (sic) some Republicans and fellow religious-right-ers wanted to have “God Bless America” declared the US’s official national anthem (not that Francis Scott Key’s bellicose “Star Spangled Banner” isn’t long overdue for replacement). “This Land is Your Land,” on the other hand, has the this-world sentiments that one would expect from a singer-composer whose guitar was emblazoned with the text “This Machine Kills Fascists.” Yet, over the years, the song’s lyrics were bowdlerized into mainstream political acceptability and stripped of a number of sentences and sentiments that once made it an ode to egalitarianism and a challenge to the failings of the status quo.

Pete Seeger is one of the people who has kept American folksong alive and for almost 3/4 of a century. He has also been one of the people who has kept America’s conscience and progressive spirit alive — from his early days using song to challenge America’s economic takeover of Latin America, to his stint with the the politically-hounded Almanac Singers and the less controversial Weavers, to his courageous defiance of the House Un-American Activities Committee and years of house arrest, to his pro-civil rights and anti-Vietnam War years, to his decades as an environmental activist.

And so it was only fitting that on the day of Obama’s inauguration Seeger should lead black and white, young and old, and rich and poor in singing aloud that “This Land is Your Land.” It was no less fitting that he should also present Obama and the country with a challenge and a renewal of activism by reinserting into Guthrie’s song its very timely, long-omitted closing stanzas:

In the squares of the city - By the shadow of the steeple
By the relief office - I saw my people
As they stood there hungry, I stood there wondering
If this land’s still made for you and me.

There was a big high wall there - that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted - it said private property;
But on the other side - it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking - that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Due to censorship in at least one of the countries in which this weblog is read, I am including two links to videos of Seeger’s Inauguration Day performance. The first is on and the second is on the weblog NYC Public School Parents.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Omitting Pete Seeger derails concert review

The Baltimore Sun, from what I can tell by watching the daily "press gaggle" on C-SPAN and observing its chief White House correspondent be as much of a scripted plant as "Jeff Guckert" was, is a reactionary rag. It failed to mention Pete's presence at the inauguration. Highly selective news indeed.

Susan Hartman, "the editor of a magazine of folk and world music" had the keenness to make the observation and presence of mind to call the paper out in the letter to the editor below. I am proud a member of the folk community took this action.

Not being a regular print media reader, and seeing no postings in NortheastFolknRoots - - a 325-member folk news and discussion group, I have no idea if the Northeast mainstream also participated in a news blackout, or did they give Pete's presence any coverage?

Omitting Pete Seeger derails concert review
January 23, 2009

While I understand the difficulty of writing a concert review and know that someone will inevitably be disappointed by a reviewer's failure to mention a concert participant, The Baltimore Sun's review of the inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial was egregious in its omission of the presence of Pete Seeger ("Musical messages of hope, faith," Jan. 19).

While many Hollywood celebrities were part of the celebration, no other person was more deserving of that bully pulpit on such a day of celebration than was Mr. Seeger, who was blacklisted in the 1950s, marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
and participated in the Poor People's March in 1968 at that same site.

No other performer on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that day has sung before so vast a number of Americans over such a period of time as Mr. Seeger has.

Kudos to those who remarked on the historic nature of the concert and who recognized the participation of Mr. Seeger, who has been speaking truth to power since before most of the participants in the concert were born, as a central point of that history.

Unfortunately, The Baltimore Sun's reporter was not one of them.

Susan Hartman


The writer is the editor of a magazine of folk and world music.

p.s. If any Notlob Music members reading this have friends and family in the Baltimore area, please forward this page and give Susan Hartman my congratulations.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

10th annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Nominees

Radio 2 Folk Awards

The tenth annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be held in London on Monday 2 February 2009. Mike Harding presents highlights from this celebration of the best in folk and acoustic music on Wednesday 4 February.

Read about the awards and how the nominees are selected

The Nominations for the Folk Awards 2009 are:


Chris Wood
BBC Music Profile | Official Site

Eliza Carthy
BBC Music Profile | Official Site | Wikipedia

Julie Fowlis
BBC Music Profile | Official Site | Wikipedia

Karine Polwart
BBC Music Profile | Official Site | Wikipedia


Bob Fox & Stu Luckley
Offical Site

Chris While & Julie Matthews
BBC Radio 2 Video Interview | Official Site |

BBC Tees Megson Feature | Official Site |

Spiers & Boden
BBC Oxford Interview | Wikipedia


Dreams of Breathing Underwater – Eliza Carthy

Low Culture – Jim Moray

This Earthly Spell – Karine Polwart

Trespasser – Chris Wood


All You Pretty Girls – Andy Partridge (performed by Jim Moray)

Come Down Jehovah – Chris Wood (performed by Chris Wood)

Mr Magnifico – Eliza Carthy/Ben Ivitsky (performed by Eliza Carthy)

The Cottager’s Reply – Frank Mansell/Chris Wood (performed by Chris Wood)


Fakenham Fair – Bellowhead

Lucy Wan – Jim Moray

The Lady of York – Chris Wood

The Lark in the Morning – Jackie Oates


Bella Hardy
Official Site | MySpace

Jackie Oates
BBC Cambridge 2007 | Official Site | MySpace | Wikipedia

Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller
BBC Young Folk Awards 2008 | BBC Cambridge 2008 | MySpace |

The Shee
Official Site | MySpace


BBC Cambridge 2007 | Official Site | Wikipedia

The Demon Barbers
Official Site

BBC Radio 2 Video Interview | Official Site | Wikipedia

Seth Lakeman
BBC Music Profile | Official Site | Wikipedia

John Leonard, Producer of The Mike Harding Show, explains how the awards are chosen and why they are important.

The BBC Folk Awards is an occasion to celebrate folk music and the people who make it. The event was started in 1999 as a way of celebrating the folk world's achievements, an opportunity to get artists and industry people together and thank them for their work over the previous twelve months. It's also a chance to showcase to the media just some of the artists and music that we, the people who work in the industry, have been particularly proud of during the year.

The awards themselves are voted for by a panel of around 170 broadcasters, folk journalists, festival organisers, agents, promoters etc; people whose job it is to make judgement of one sort or another about folk music during their daily work. The voting is in two stages: the first round is open and the panel can vote for anyone they like in each of the designated categories. These votes are collated and the top four artists in each category declared as nominees. The panel is then asked to vote again to choose an award winner in each category from these nominations.

We constantly aim to improve the Folk Awards, to maintain its credibility and increase its impact. I feel these are great times for folk music; it seems to be reaching a much larger audience and I'm delighted to see so many new names nominated this year. It's my favourite night of the year and, once again, thanks to BBC Radio 2 for its continuing support.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

This Land is Your Land ~ AS WOODY WROTE IT!

Video of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land", at the Presidential inaugural concert rehearsal at the Lincoln Memorial, 1/17/09.

Pete Seeger
Tao Rodriguez-Seeger
Bruce Springsteen

Updated 1/20.

I hope everyone was able to read this message in time as "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Home Box Office, Inc."

From an international source, found a video of the actual performance -

Watch it before HBO has it taken down, too.


"This Land Is Your Land" Like Woody Wrote It

by: Tommy Stevenson, Tuscaloosa News

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen at the Lincoln Memorial Concert.
Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, performing at Sunday's concert at the Lincoln Memorial. (Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)

Bee Branch - At the conclusion of today's concert for president-elect Barack Obama 89-year-old Pete Seeger joined Bruce Springsteen for a sing-along with perhaps half a million people of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," which I dare say practically everyone in the country knows from childhood.

But sly old Pete, who actually hoboed with Woody during the Depression and Dust Bowl, had the crowd sing the song as it was actually written, as not only a celebration of this great land, but as a demand for workers' and people's rights. That is, he restored the verses that have been censored from the song over the years to make it less political:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

The "relief office," of course, refers to the ad hoc soup bowls and such set up during the Depression before the New Deal began to get the social security net we have all depended upon since the 1930s in place.

Seeger, like Guthrie, has been a controversial figure at times during his life, questioned by the witch hunting committees of Congress in the 1950s, black listed, and even banded from television as late as the late 1960s.

But while he hasn't got much of a voice left anymore and did not attempt to play his banjo today, it was wonderful to see the gleam in his subversive eye as he did his call and response with the throngs in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Somewhere Woody - and Leadbelly, and Sonny and Cisco and the rest of the great balladeers of that bygone era - are smiling tonight.


Full Lyrics

This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me


I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me


The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me


As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!


In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.

Chorus (2x)



Monday, January 12, 2009

William Zantzinger

Man Bob Dylan Made Infamous With “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” Dies

video, Steve Allen Show, 1964

1/8/09, 2:55 pm EST

William Zantzinger, the subject of Bob Dylan’s 1963 protest song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” has died at age 69 according to a local paper in Maryland. In 1963, a 24-year-old Zantzinger was at a Baltimore hotel when he struck Hattie Carroll — a 51-year-old black barmaid — in the head and shoulders with a toy cane. Details of the attack vary, but most claim he was enraged she wasn’t serving him quickly enough. A distraught Carroll, who suffered from high blood pressure and an enlarged heart, returned to the kitchen where she complained to a co-worker about Zantzinger — and quickly collapsed and died. An autopsy stated she died of a brain hemorrhage and there was no mark on her head from the cane. Zantzinger was eventually charged with involuntary manslaughter due to the “tremendous emotional upsurge” caused by his attack. He paid a $25,000 fine and served a six-month prison sentence.

Bob Dylan, at the height of his protest period, read about the incident and turned it into one of early masterpieces (click above for footage of the singer performing the tune on the Steve Allen Show). The facts of the song have been disputed over the years, largely due to the fact that it implies Carroll was beaten to death or “slain by a cane.” After getting out of jail, Zantzinger got involved in real estate. In 1986 the government took possession of some of his low-income houses due to unpaid taxes. Zantzinger continued to charge rent on property he no longer owned — even suing people who fell behind in payments. The con caught up to him, and by 1991 he was arrested, fined $62,000 and served 2,400 hours of community service.

The Dylan song followed him around his whole life, though he steadfastly refused to talk about it with reporters. In 2001 Bob Dylan biographical Howard Sounes actually got a quote out of him. “[Dylan] is a no-account son a bitch,” Zantzinger said. “He’s just like a scum bag of the earth. I should have sued him and put him in jail. [The song is] a total lie.” Clinton Heylin – perhaps the world’s authority on all things Dylan – seems to agree. “Dylan’s concern was not the fact themselves but how they might fit with his preconceived notions of injustice and corruption,” he wrote in Behind The Shades. “That the song itself is a masterpiece of drama and wordplay does not excuse Dylan’s distortions, and 36 years on he continues to misrepresent poor William Zantzinger in concert.”

Andy Greene ~ Source

Here is a recounting of the details of the incident and his subsequent life, from the New York Times.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Call Out for "Green" Musicians

Call Out for "Green" Musicians

Senior editor of the Sustainable Times radio show, Mark Boutros, is looking for "green" musicians for the show:

Attention "green" musicians! Sustainable Times wants you. Sustainable Times is a bi-monthly 30-minute radio show and podcast produced by The City University of New York (CUNY). It is part of a new initiative to lead the way to a sustainable future--one in which energy and other resources are used in ways that assure they're availability to future generations--while promoting local musical artists interested in furthering the green cause. Musical artists of all stripes have been featured- from small independent artists to big names acts like Guster and folk legend Pete Seeger.

Why does CUNY want musicians from Metuchen and its environs? Because sustainable initiatives begin locally, but involve everyone. Beyond that, many of the production staff of Sustainable Times are commuters from outside the five boroughs, just like much of the NYC workforce. Laurie Reilly, the show's host and producer resides in Connecticut, Dawn Spicer, News Producer in New Paltz, NY and the show's senior editor lives right here in Edison, NJ. By the way, that last person is me. Bringing in music from our communities is part of the philosophy of the show. When asked about bringing in artists from the greater Tri-State area, producer Reilly didn't see a problem. "Musicians and music are the natural bridge to attracting a larger audience."

The show is part is part of a larger commitment to New York City to reduce the University's carbon footprint by 30% over the next decade. With more than 400,000 students, 298 buildings and 26 million square feet of land, the project is a challenge. CUNY already is one of the top 10 US universities in its use of energy from renewable sources and is dedicated to investing the resources necessary to construct, retrofit and maintain more sustainable facilities. CUNY is incorporating sustainability into the University's fabric by integrating it into procurement decisions and the curriculum, and by supporting research and partnerships with civic and business leaders.

The show is available 24/7 at CUNY iTunes U (, as well as on CUNY's campus radio stations and, where you can subscribe.

Subject matters range from economic and workforce development to energy, research, policy, health and entertainment. Recent shows have included celebrity activists Daryl Hanna and Ed Beagly Jr., Mark Aubry of Smith Electric Vehicles on the advantages of electric commercial trucks, and Michael Martin, "Prez" of MusicMatters on engaging artists as well as fans to help save the environment.

But it isn't all about heavy discussions, Reilly assures. "It doesn't all have to be super-serious. Sustainability shouldn't be one section of your life, sustainable actions should integrated into your daily life." Music plays an important part of the show format. Aside from promoting green musicians, Sustainable Times is working on offering rewards to listeners such as free music downloads.

If you are a green musician and want to support the show while promoting your music send a link to a sample of your work to and put "Sustainable Times Music" in the subject line. But if you are like me and can't carry a tune in a bucket, Reilly says not to fret. The show also features a "sustainable tip" segment, which gives advice to the musically talented and deficient alike. "The domino effect of one sustainable action...makes a difference. Do something each day." Reilly says.

Mark Boutros is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Television and Radio at Brooklyn College and is senior editor for Sustainable Times. He is also a resident of Edison, NJ and can be frequently spotted pacing on the platform of Metuchen Station.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Which side are you on?

A recent MySpace bulletin by a LA-based "Indie / Pop / Rock" (their appelation) band proudly advertises their CD for sale on With so many other sales channels, why would any self-respecting musician "sell out" to Wal-Mart?

For a limited time, our full length album, "(title withheld to protect the scabs)" is ON SALE for only $7 (or $0.94 a song!) at Walmart. com.
Wouldn't it be ironic if one of the songs were...

Which Side Are You On?
by Florence Reese

Come all of you good workers
Good news to you I'll tell
Of how that good old union
Has come in here to dwell

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

My daddy was a miner
And I'm a miner's son
And I'll stick with the union
Till every battle's won

They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there
You'll either be a union man
Or a thug for J.H. Blair

Oh, workers can you stand it?
Oh, tell me how you can
Will you be a lousy scab
Or will you be a man?

Don't scab for the bosses
Don't listen to their lies
Us poor folks haven't got a chance
Unless we organize

...but I guess any artist who sells out to Wal-Mart would not be inclined to cover "Which Side Are You On?"

From Wikipedia

"Which Side Are You On?" was a song written by Florence Reece in 1931. She was the wife of a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky. In 1931 the miners of that region were locked in a bitter and violent struggle with the mine owners. In an attempt to intimidate the Reece family, deputies hired by the mining company illegally entered and searched the Reece family home. Sam Reece had been warned in advance and escaped, but Florence and their children were terrorized in his place. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to "Which Side Are You On?" on a calendar that hung in the kitchen of her home. She took the melody from a traditional Baptist hymn, "Lay the Lily Low", or the traditional ballad "Jack Munro". Florence recorded the song and it can be heard on the CD Coal Mining Women.

Versions by other artists

The Almanac Singers - The Original Talking Union with the Almanac Singers & Other Union Songs with Pete Seeger and Chorus, in 1941, and on the remastered version in 1973.
Dick Gaughan - True and Bold, in 1985.
Billy Bragg - Back to Basics, in 1987, albeit with different lyrics altogether.
Deacon Blue - Riches & More, in 1997.
Ella Jenkins - Ella Jenkins and a Union of Friends Pulling Together, in 1999.
Dropkick Murphys - Sing Loud, Sing Proud!, in 2001, and, subsequently Live on St. Patrick's Day from Boston, MA, in 2002.
Anne Feeney - Union Maid, in 2003.
Natalie Merchant - The House Carpenter's Daughter, in 2003.
Marnie Niemi - Karaoke Union Songs 2006

Edited 1/13: Read about "Springsteen's "Wal-Mart Exclusive" CD" here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2 CD tribute to Utah Phillips!

From Dan Schatz
December 29, 2008

It is an absolute joy to announce the upcoming release of Singing Through the Hard Times - a Tribute to Utah Phillips, a double CD on Righteous Babe Records. Musicians include Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Emmylou Harris and Mary Black, John McCutcheon, as well as several Mudcatters, including Kendall, Jean Ritchie, myself, Big Mick, Mark Ross, and more. The official release date is February 24, but it should be available from Righteous Babe a few weeks before that.

It all happened like this:Last winter, when Utah Phillips was very ill, a number of folks were planning benefit concerts for him. At a gathering in Maine, I started talking with Kendall and Jacqui Morse about maybe putting together a benefit CD - a little CD-R, perhaps, of songs by and for Utah from various friends and admirers. The funds would go to defray the medical expenses.Jacqui went into the kitchen, tapped Gordon Bok on the shoulder, and said, "Gordon, I wonder if I might have a word?" Two minutes later she came back and said, "Gordon says he'll do Goodnight Loving Trail." An hour later Will Brown and Cindy Kallet had agreed to do "Going Away," I'd put myself down for "Queen of the Rails," Kendall for "Phoebe Snow," Kat Logan for "The Faded Roses of December," and Jacqui and Kendall for "Miner's Lullaby."Kendall wrote to Pete Seeger, and Tom Paxton, who both said "Yes." I talked to John McCutcheon, Si Kahn and Cathy Fink. Mark Ross joined us, and a slew of Rose Tattoo Folks. Mick Lane said yes. Rosalie Sorrels said yes. Magpie said yes. Jean Ritchie said yes. Art Thieme said yes. And Emmylou Harris and Mary Black agreed to donate a rare recording of the two of them singing "The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia" as a duet.

Utah suggested talking to Harry Tuft, who said yes. Ani DiFranco donated a fabulous instrumental version of "The Internationale" and offered to release the album on her label, Righteous Babe Records. Charlie Pilzer agreed to master. Everyone we asked said yes - in the end we completely filled two CDs with 39 tracks of amazing music.Of the 39 tracks on the CD, all but 10 are brand new recordings - and many of the 10 are fairly rare. The title song, "Singing Through the Hard Times" is an ensemble piece with Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Magpie, Emma's Revolution, myself and a host of others. Like a few songs on this compilation, it's never been recorded before. There's even a recording of Utah's son, Brendan, and his band Fast Rattler singing a never recorded Utah song from long ago.All proceeds go to Joanna, Utah's wife, to help with the many remaining expenses, and anything she doesn't need will go to organizations that help musicians in need.

I can't even begin to express the amount of love, care and generosity from so many people that went into this recording - especially Kendall and Jacqui Morse, who worked very hard to turn this from a small project to a Big Deal. There were lots of folks, too, who heard about the project and offered to send recordings, but sadly, we'd already filled up. They too deserve thanks.

So that's the story. I'm heading out to California, and am planning to debut the CD in a KVMR - fm radio show this Friday or Saturday.

Here's the complete track list.

1. Magpie, Dan Schatz, Emma's Revolution, Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer and Friends - Singing through the Hard Times (3:26)

2. Will Brown, Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen - Going Away (4:55)

3. Emmylou Harris and Mary Black - Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia (3:36)

4. Si Kahn - Dump the Bosses Off Your Back (1:39)

5. John McCutcheon - All Used Up (3:16)

6. Saul Broudy - Starlight on the Rails (4:18)

7. Lisa Null - All About Preachers (3:12)

8. Harry Tuft and Jack Stanesco - She'll Never Be Mine (3:01)

9. Larry Penn - The Popular Wobbly ( 2:44)

10. Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer - Room for the Poor (5:08)

11. Sparky and Rhonda Rucker - Reuben's Train (3:11)

12. Fast Rattler - Paddy Welcome Back (4:39)

13. Magpie - Michael (4:52)

14. Ed Trickett - The Telling Takes Me Home (3:36)

15. Kendall Morse - Phoebe Snow (3:18)

16. Faith Petric - If I Could Be the Rain (2:40)

17. Dan Schatz - Queen of the Rails (3:11)

18. Judy Cook - Kid's Liberation (2:23)

19: Pete Seeger - Or Else! (One-a These Days) (3:23)

Disc 2:

1. Gordon Bok - Goodnight Loving Trail (3:43)

2. Rosalie Sorrels - The Soldier's Return (2:38)

3. Tom Paxton - I Remember Loving You (4:17)

4. Elizabeth LaPrelle - Jesse's Corrido (3:37)

5. Bruce Brackney - Hood River, Roll On (2:40)

6. Pop and Bodie Wagner and Dakota Dave Hull - Old Buddy, Goodnight (3:19)

7. Mick Lane - Hallelujah I'm a Bum (2:44)

8. Ani DiFranco - The Internationale - instrumental (2:46)

9. Kat Logan - The Faded Roses of December (3:27)

10. Jay Peterson - Daddy, What's a Train? (3:36)

11. Ray Bierl - Bill McCarran (3:20)

12. Finest Kind - He Comes Like Rain (3:29)

13. Mark Ross - Look for Me in Butte (3:19)

14. Jacqui Morse - The Miner's Lullaby (3:28)

15. Rik Palieri - Larimer Street (3:19)

16. Jean Ritchie - Old George's Square (3:05)

17. Taylor Whiteside - Rock Salt and Nails (3:41)

18. Art Thieme - The Hobo's Last Ride (2:40)

19. Caroline Paton - Singing in the Country (3:00)

20. Emma's Revolution - Hymn Song (3:45)

The CD is listed by Righteous Babe at a VERY reasonable $15.98 and if you buy directly from Righteous Babe Records, all the proceeds will go to the benefit! They haven't gotten it up on their website yet, but you can call them at 1-800-ON-HER-OWN (716-852-7978 for international customers) and ask for the Utah tribute – item number RBR065-2-CD. Even better, you can e-mail them at

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wahlberg and gang take over oyster house

Pat Montheith, WUMB General Manager. Note station logos with the words
"folk radio", an appelation dropped in 2008. Photo by Boston Globe
photographer Harry Brett.
"Wahlberg and gang take over oyster house" by Mark Shanahan & Paysha RhoneGlobe Staff / December 9, 2008 was the headline in the Boston Globe's celebritygossip column, the source of many in the area folk community learning of the demise of the Boston Folk festival. That kind of sums up the way the community was treated by Globe and former folk radio station WUMB.

2008 was a year of change for the Boston-area folk community. In addition to the loss of folk giants Bruce Phillips, Artie Traum and Odetta, we’ll remember 2008 as the year we lost five local mainstays.

“Folk Radio” WUMB replaced by “WUMB Music Mix”.

The Boston Globe’s dropping folk music coverage by Scott Alarik

The Boston Globe's dropping folk concert listings from its print editions.

The Boston Globe’s dropping of folk concert listings from its print

The Boston Folk Festival.

NEFolknRoots members have played their part by capturing and posting media coverage, providing their own original news coverate and stating their own opinions. With each of the five key topics, I have posted a summary of what the first message. To find other information use the group’s “archive” search feature.

Life goes on, we will adjust and adapt. But we are a community of talented people. We have resources. If you have alternatives to help fill the losses, please add here and/or in NEFolknRoots.

I’ll start.

“Folk Radio” WUMB replaced by “WUMB Music Mix”.

WUMB's "big project with the CPB" meetings exclude hinterlanders ... reply to this
email or call Dan Sussman at 617-287-6910. We hope you will be able to attend
and help us make WUMB Radio a better service to the community. Thank you, Pat
Patricia Monteith General Manager, WUMB-FM
Jan 16, 2008
11:26 am

Laurenti new music director at WUMB
See article in today's Boston Globe at
Allan Sherman
Jul 26, 2008
10:09 am

WUMB certainly was not the only radio station in the area playing folk music, what set it apart was that it played more hours per week than any other station, and veterans Marilyn Rae Beyer, Brian Quinn, Dave Palmeter, Dick Pleasants and former music/program director and sometimes host Brian Quinn were some of the area's longest serving and most knowledgeable hosts. Marilyn saw the change coming and left in August 2007. The remaining long-timers' roles were reduced from DJ's who produced/programmed their own shows to automaton "on-air personalities". After two or three decent folk songs are aired, I cringe each time I hear a veteran DJ forced to say something kind about a schmaltzy commercial-sounding klinker. (Case in point, 1/2/09 1pm, Phil Ochs' "There but for Fortune" followed by "Lovely Day"by China Forbes). After the shift from folk to AAA, station management brought in a music director from a AAA rock station and "on air personalities" who could not pronounce folk musicians' names (Eilen Jewell as "Ellen" and Mare Wakefield as "Mare"), and whose knowledge of the music was limited to reading liner notes.

NEFolknRoots offers the community two solutions:

The DATABASE lists the call letters, frequencies and websites of broadcast and internet-based folk stations around the world.

The CALENDAR lists Northeast USA broadcast and internet radio folk programs.

More listings, resources and ideas are welcome.

The Boston Globe’s dropping folk music coverage by Scott Alarik / reduction of folk news and concert reviews.

Globe Drops Folk Music Writer Scott Alarik
... other acoustic music styles."
5 Nov 2008 Boston Globe Drops Folk Music Writer
Scott Alarik Posted in News - Northeast U.S. ...
Jan 1, 2009
11:14 am
Soon after the New York Times Corporation purchased the Boston Globe, local staff began to be reduced and news of local events was replaced by national feeds. The Globe’s “coverage” of the demise of the Boston Folk Festival as on "oh, by the way" throwoff paragraph in a gossip column entitled "Wahlberg and gang take over oyster house?", rather than as a feature story in its arts and/or business sections was an embarrassment to itself and the folk community. Dropping Scott as a feature folk writer and turning his talent into occasional "top pick" pieces is the equivalent to turning one of its award-winning sports writers into the box score copy boy, ranking with WUMB turning its DJ/producers into “on-air personalities”.

What’s done is done, but what are the alternatives?

Scott continues to freelance and write in his own website. Maybe he (and other similarly positioned writers like Steve Morse and Dan Gerwitz, and WUMB’s former DJ’s, if allowed by management) will write blogs similar to Ron Olseko’s “Folk Music Notebook”. If there is quality folk concert coverage out there in other newspapers or blogs, please post links to NEFolknRoots.
See related coverage.

The Boston Globe dropping folk concert listings from its print editions.

Re: WUMB calendar.... and more for 31 Oct.
... think we all get it by now,
WUMB's calendar is f-ed up. To me, a much bigger concern is the Boston Globe,
they have shrunk their Thursday calendar listings down to next-to-nothing. Yea,
they say they have more complete listings on their website ...
Nov 1, 2008
4:16 pm

From an email sent by the former print calendar editor, dated November 11, 2008:

Dear event submitter,

We are no longer printing event listings in The Boston Globe. Instead, we have expanded our listings on the Boston Globe's website,
The newspaper's website is visited by more than 5 million individual readers each month.

You may submit your calendar event listings for free using our online tool at:'s Things To Do/Calendar section offers the following benefits to
your listings:
- It is searchable and can be located 24 hours per day, seven days a week
- The event will feature a map to its location, featuring places to eat in the area
- You have more space available to provide details about the event
- You may post photos related to the event
- You may include a link to the official event site
- If you are part of a venue, you may set up a section in the calendar to feature all events at your facility

Please note that each listing is subject to editing by our listings staff. Once submitted, it may take up to 72 hours for your listings to be edited, approved, and made available to the public. Events must be submitted using the online tool at We will not accept submissions by postal mail, fax, e-mail press release, or telephone. We will not approve events that are advertising or marketing in nature, or are deemed inappropriate for our audience.

For additional questions about submitting your event online, please check out our Help page at If you can't find the answer you need there, please contact our listings staff by e-mail at or call Joan Matelli at 617-929-8795.

We believe this new online tool will increase exposure to your event listings by helping you reach a larger online audience, and allow you to provide more information to your attendees.

Sincerely, staff

So what is the folk community to do? The question was posed last week…
Re: Thin concert pickings, 12-27 through 1/10? ... programmatic. The simplest would require a core of people who would each add from a couple to a several quality
music listings to the calendar of an existing website, then, through the folk
grapevine, spread the word. If you are interested in working together towards a
Dec 28, 2008
4:13 pm
…and we’re waiting for a few dedicated volunteers to step up.

The Boston Folk Festival.
Boston Folk Festival canceled Seen in today's Boston Globe:
_take_over_oyster_house/ Folk fest nixed Yet another...
Dec 9, 2008
9:07 am
NEFolknRoots discussion of the causes for the demise of the Boston Folk Festival was extensive. Members expressed thoughts (I paraphrase) ranging from “it had a good run” to “the ICONS Festival, held the same weekend, presented more acts of interest to folk fans” to “it was mismanaged, the quality diminished over time and with WUMB’s change from folk to AAA its end was inevitable”.

Time will tell if the Boston Folk Festival will come back as a folk festival, or a pop festival, or not at all. In 2009, we can support the ICONS Festival or the Soule Farm festival, held the same weekend. There is even talk of a new indoor/outdoor festival in north-central Massachusetts, to be produced by a commercial music venue.



Wahlberg and gang take over Oyster House

Above: ''Bunker Hill'' crew members outside the Union Oyster House.Above: ''Bunker Hill'' crew members outside the Union Oyster House. (Globe Staff Photo / George Rizer)
By Mark Shanahan & Paysha Rhone
Globe Staff / December 9, 2008
Text size  +
It was barely 10 a.m., and Donnie Wahlberg was sitting at the bar drinking beer. The New Kid nuzzled a young redhead and then joined a few friends for a game of darts. Welcome to "Bunker Hill," the TNT pilot that began filming yesterday inside the historic Union Oyster House. Owner Joe Milano said the cast and crew pulled up ...