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May 25th, 2008

Utah Phillips R.I.P.

Utah Phillips

I just read today that Utah Phillips died Friday. What a wonderful man. It’s sad news. Though Utah had such an amazing life. More sad for his family and fans.

Don’t know Utah?

From his website:
Folksinger, Storyteller, Railroad Tramp Utah Phillips Dead at 73
“Utah Phillips, a seminal figure in American folk music who performed extensively and tirelessly for audiences on two continents for 38 years, died Friday of congestive heart failure in Nevada City, California a small town in the Sierra Nevada mountains where he lived for the last 21 years with his wife, Joanna Robinson, a freelance editor.”


“He made me understand that music must be more than cotton candy for the ears,” said John McCutcheon, a nationally-known folksinger and close friend.

In the creation of his performing persona and work, Phillips drew from influences as diverse as Borscht Belt comedian Myron Cohen, folksingers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and Country stars Hank Williams and T. Texas Tyler.”


“Over the span of the nearly four decades that followed, Phillips worked in what he referred to as “the Trade,” developing an audience of hundreds of thousands and performing in large and small cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. His performing partners included Rosalie Sorrels, Kate Wolf, John McCutcheon and Ani DiFranco.”

Utah is one of my favorite musicians. Goddess I love his music. It sounds cliched to say an album changed one’s life but his album We Have Fed You All a Thousand Years heavily influenced me. I learned so much history-Mother Jones, Joe Hill, the war resisters of WWI, the importance of unions…I could go on and on.

But I learned more than history. I first listened to this album during a time in my life where I was questioning things. Questioning the status quo, questioning authority-that sort of thing. Utah’s story taught me to learn from history, to research more, to form my own opinions. I was already doing this but I started doing it on a deeper level.

Utah is entertaining, educational and inspiring. If only more people knew of him. Hell, he should be in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. He is one of the best musicians I’ve ever listened to. (Can you tell that I love his work?)

You can buy his music here. I can’t recommend him enough!

Posted by Vixen as News, Activism at 10:43 PM CDT