Over ten years ago I released Hallelujah! I'm a Bum, a home recorded EP of IWW labor songs. I'll be re-releasing those original 6 songs, re-recorded and better than ever, along with 12 new songs over a 5-month period starting in April.
Then and Now.
On April 13, 1917 the state of Minnesota passed the Sedition Act, or the IWW bill as it was called, and on September 29,1917 in Beltrami county, Jesse Dunning was sentenced to two years in prison under this new law. Jesse was the acting secretary of the local IWW office in Bemidji. It was the first conviction of it's kind and his case laid the legal framework for other convictions around the country under the federal Espionage Act and Sedition Act. I was born and have lived nearly all my life in Beltrami County, but I didn't learn about this history until I delved a little deeper into the music and history of the IWW labor movement.
In honor of Jesse Dunning, and others from Eugene Debs to Chelsea Manning, who have lost their freedom under this repressive legislation, starting April 13th and continuing through to the end of the month, I will be releasing all 18 songs from Hallelujah! I'm a Bum, 2nd ed. I am excited to share my research and new music with you all, as well as continue this important work with many more editions to come in the future! In the words of the late, great Utah Phillips, "These are people's songs so you damn we'll ought to learn how to sing 'em."
You can pre-order the album here.