Charlie King, Musical Political Satirist
Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. He sings and writes passionately about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Pete Seeger hailed him as “One of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.”
Charlie has been at the heart of American folk music for over half a century and has been writing songs for the past 45 years. In October of 2017 he received the annual the Phil Ochs Award, in recognition of his music and activism for social and political justice in the spirit of Phil Ochs. His songs have been recorded and sung by other performers such as Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, John McCutcheon, Arlo Guthrie, Peggy Seeger, Chad Mitchell and Judy Small.
Charlie is currently touring with his latest CD, Step by Step, recorded with Annie Patterson (of Rise Up Singing fame), which was released in February 2019. Past honors include: an "Indie" award for one of the top three folk recordings of 1984; the War Resisters League’s 1998 Peacemaker Award given to Charlie and Odetta; the 1999 Sacco-Vanzetti Social Justice Award for which he was nominated by Pete Seeger; the 2009 International Labor Communications Association award for Best Labor History Story. In 2014 the Labor Heritage Foundation presented Charlie the Joe Hill Award. This lifetime achievement award recognizes excellence in the field of labor culture.
Charlie has recorded over a dozen solo albums since 1976, as well as three albums with the touring ensemble Bright Morning Star, and numerous compilation albums with other artists. From 2001 to 2014 he recorded with his partner, Karen Brandow. In addition to a full time career of concert touring, King has sung in support of numerous groups working for peace, human rights, environmental sanity and alternatives to violence.
His central vision as an entertainer is to leave audiences with a sense of optimism and possibility about the future. "I try to cover a broad emotional landscape in my concerts. The stories I collect and the songs I write take the listener on a journey of humor, heartache and hope. What I most value in a song is the way it helps us see an old reality in a totally new light."
Charlie was born in 1947, and was raised in Brockton, MA. He cites as musical influences the folk music revival of the 1960's, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War era.
Folk legend Peggy Seeger says, "If we had more Charlie Kings in the world I'd be less worried," and Tom Paxton adds, "Luckily, we have him!"