Nashville-based acoustic folk artists Shelby Bottom Duo will bring their multi-media Musical History to Chattanooga on February 21, 2017. The Duo’s recently released companion CD Joe Hill Roadshow will be available at this show. Admission proceeds will go to benefit Chattanooga Area Food Bank.
Perhaps best known through Joan Baez’s stirring singing of “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” at Woodstock, the Swedish-born Joe Hill was an activist and songwriter for the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), or Wobblies. His best-known song “The Preacher and the Slave” introduced the phrase “pie in the sky” into the English lexicon. He is the precursor of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan.
Joe Hill was framed for two murders he did not commit and executed by a firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1915. There is little doubt today that Hill was framed for the crimes because he was a foreigner and a well-known labor activist. The case drew international attention and appeals for clemency from U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, the Swedish Ambassador, the American Federation of Labor, and many others. After his execution, Hill became a labor icon.
In 2015, on the 100-year anniversary of Joe Hill’s death, 40 shows were held around the country to celebrate his life and his legacy. Shelby Bottom Duo organized and played in the Nashville show and also played in the Knoxville show.
Shelby Bottom Duo’s entertaining, educational presentation includes early labor history interspersed with live music and a slide show. The Duo will hold a post-concert discussion on art and activism and the relevance of this history to what is going on in our country today. The event is free and open to the public. A light supper will be served at 5:30 before the show. All are encouraged to attend, including creative artists who are seeking to understand how art can influence social change.