The last time I posted a news update was nearly two years ago when I shared Karen Brandow’s obituary. Karen lives on in our memories and in the wonderful music she sang and recorded during our 15 years touring together. I think the finest tribute to her musical gifts is the CD we just released, Guatemala Journey. For those of you who heard and remember Karen fondly, this recording is a must.
My latest release celebrates 40+ years of song- writing, a 40 song, retrospective double CD. Featuring my favorites from the 200 or so songs I've written, So Far, So Good is the soundtrack of my life traveling, singing and writing about the people and the issues that inspire and define the road we've traveled together. With 150 minutes of song and a booklet with extensive liner notes it's a memorable historical & musical journey and a bargain to boot. Like all my recordings, the best way to buy is to come to one of my concerts, second best is to clik on the "Shop for Music" button at the top of the page, third best is to click the "Download Music" button and purchase a download from CD Baby. Enjoy!
Life goes on for me in many new and surprising ways. First and foremost is my relationship with Candace Cassin. Many of you have met Candace in the past year as we have traveled together. Evolving out of a friendship of nearly two decades, we’ve been developing a work partnership as well as a life partnership.
Candace has channeled for Barbara Lee in my performance of “Manpower Problem” and she has been taking on half the script in the Historical Performance Pieces I offer. We’re proving to be a happy couple and Candace has joined me in rejoicing at the wonderful growing up of granddaughters Viviana Jo and Serafina.
As I continue to ease into modified retirement my work becomes more and more interesting. Because it’s not cash driven it gives me lots of options. I’ve been touring with other artists - last year with Martha Leader, celebrating a 30 year revival tour of our former duo
and the release on CD of our 1988 LP, Steppin’ Out, (also still available on LP & cassette);
This coming year I'll be touring with my longtime friend and role model, Bev Grant. I've been a friend & a fan of Bev's for over 40 years. We’ll be performing in the northeast in December and are booking a west coast tour (Bellingham to San Diego) for February 2017. Our motto is "A Century of Song - And Still Going Strong!"
If you’d like to book us for an event click the "Contact" button at the top of the page.
Another wonderful touring development comes from being free to say Yes! to two great musical traveling shows.
With 2015 being the Centennial of the execution of IWW songwriter Joe Hill, I got to travel and sing with fellow Wobblies Magpie (Greg & Terry) and George Mann. We sang Joe’s songs and told his story up & down the east coast and will continue as long as there’s interest.
The second touring company was a motley crew of folkies & songwriters who had contributed to the music contained in the all new, 1200 song compendium, Rise Again - the long-awaited sequel to the 30 year old, folk singer’s bible, Rise Up Singing. Performers on that tour included: Kim & Reggie Harris; Magpie; The Neilds; Bill Harley; emma’s revolution; Sally Rogers & Howie Burson; Fred Small; Kallet, Epstein & Cicone; Bev Grant; Sparky & Rhonda Rucker; Joe Crookston; Tom Chapin; John Flynn –whew! – and most of all the tireless editors and wonderful singer/songleaders, Peter Blood and Annie Patterson. Here's a picture of Candace & me, Magpie, Bill, Sally & Howie & Annie. I guess Peter was taking the picture...
I did 10 of these shows and Annie & Peter must have done 10 times that many. It was a great experience, it’s an honor to have 5 songs included in this new volume, and it’s a great book. Look for it at all my upcoming concerts.
I’ve also had the time to develop new Historical Performance Pieces. Candace and I prepared a half hour piece for the Great Labor Arts Exchange in June that re-told the dramatic events in labor history for 1916 – 40 hours in the making, 30 minutes on stage, a labor of love.
Inspired by that we are working on a much longer project for the centennial of 1917. This will deal with the war at home - the struggles of working people in the repressive and profit driven era of the US entry into WWI. There’s a great deal of tragedy and heroism in the stories of workers in the copper mines of Montana and Arizona and we’re well on our way to tell that story in songs, images and historical narrative. Our goal is to have it ready by January 2017. Stay tuned. And think about bringing the piece to your local school, library, union hall etc.
Finally, I’m preparing to record a new CD, tentatively titled “Life & Love, Tears & Laughter.” It will be a mix of my most recent songwriting and a handful of old songs by others that I want to record simply because I love to sing them.
The wonderful Reggie Harris has set aside a chunk of time to produce yet another recording with me, our 5th CD together, so I know that it’s going to sound great! Watch for its release in early 2017.
It seems a bit shallow to trumpet “Life is good!” in the midst of all the political craziness and systemic violence that we see all around us. My historical research reminds me that it has always been this way but that incrementally we survive by finding new ways to struggle together. Candace and I have been inspired by the words of Dorothy Day: “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” I write this in the hope that we all find community and love to support us in struggles for a better future.
Posted: to General News on Wed, Sep 21, 2016
Updated: Tue, Feb 9, 2021
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