Utah Phillips, 1935-2008

I know I’m a few days late on this, which in the blogosphere is completely inexcusable, but I can’t let the passing of a legend go by without adding my own two cents of digital fodder.

Utah Phillips, singer, songwriter, activist, storyteller and consummate union man, died last Friday. He had turned 73 eight days earlier. He’ll be missed by many, but I think especially by those of us who believe that grounding our art (whether it’s music, painting or just plain living) in historical realities makes it truer, deeper and more potent.

Maybe David Rovics said it best in his blog post on Utah:

As a young radical, I had heard lots about the 1960’s. There were (and are) plenty of veterans of the struggles of the 60’s alive and well today. But the wildly tumultuous era of the first two decades of the 20th century is now (and pretty well was then) a thing entirely of history, with no one living anymore to tell the stories. And while long after the 60’s there will be millions of hours of audio and video recorded for posterity, of the massive turn-of-the-century movement of the industrial working class there will be virtually none of that.

And so, without further ado, a collection of Utah Philips links:


Keep on riding those fast rattlers.