Nashville-based Shelby Bottom Duo (Michael August and Nell Levin) have launched this campaign with a goal of raising $5000 to fund our Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement Tour and our companion CD of Joe Hill songs, Joe Hill Roadshow.
Production of our CD will cost approximately $4000. The additional $1000 will pay a portion of our travel expenses to perform dates in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Clarksville and Knoxville, with more being scheduled. We are performing for community groups, schools and unions that are eager to hear our unique combination of history and music. We applied for an educational grant to cover the cost of this project but did not receive the funding; thus our need to raise money.
Songwriter Joe Hill is the precursor of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan. He was immortalized when Joan Baez sang “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. A Swedish immigrant, Hill was a member of the international labor group, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies), active in the decade leading up to World War I.
In 1914, Joe Hill was framed for two murders he did not commit. He was executed by a firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 19,1915. He was 36 years old. 30,000 people attended his funeral in Chicago. 600 packages of his ashes were distributed worldwide and in every state in the union, except Utah, in accordance with his wishes.
In 2015, 100 years after his execution, 40 concerts were held around the country celebrating his legacy. Shelby Bottom Duo performed at the Nashville and Knoxville concerts. This CD and Tour is a continuation of this celebration.
Our Musical History includes live performances of Joe Hill songs that are recorded on our CD combined with a talk about Hill’s life, early labor struggles and the influence of the IWW’s innovative organizing strategies on movements today. Our goal is to share this vital slice of labor history with a wide range people so that we can all better understand why the revolutionary creativity exemplified by Joe Hill and the Wobblies is still relevant.
“When setting the agenda for our annual Leadership Conference, we were looking for a unique addition that would be a lively experience for our attendees. That’s exactly what we found with the Shelby Bottom Duo. Nell and Michael engaged the audience and provided everyone with a memorable and distinct take on the history of the labor movement.” Tennessee AFL-CIO President Billy Dycus
“Shelby Bottom Duo: Entertaining, irreverent social commentary, humanity and humor." Bill Friskics-Warren, correspondent for the New York Times
Please make a donation now to support the educational and entertaining Joe Hill Roadshow Tour and CD.
We are offering rewards for donations of $30 or more. Please check these out.
Thanking you in advance for your support,
Nell and Michael