"Halker conjures the passionate fire of John Steinbeck" Allgemeine Zeitung
"Halker's music is brash, fresh, and tells a mean story" R&R Shopper
"Incredibly appealing. Halker is a great singer"
After two CDs and a decade of performing worker protest songs, as well as lecturing and writing about the subject, Bucky Halker was aching to get into the studio with his own songs. Bucky wanted to do a studio project that covered a lot of stylistic ground, relied on detailed arrangements, and utilized the skills of several of Chicago’s best musicians, who also happen to be good friends of his.
The project turned into a 2-CD set: Wisconsin, 2-13-63, Volumes 1 and 2. Both volumes cover a lot of stylistic ground, with a strong emphais on melody and lyrics. The songs stylistically range from straight country and honkytonk, to jazz, to jingly-jangly pop rock, to New Orleans R&B, to Tex Mex, to straight-ahead rock. Listeners will hear ample doses of vocal harmonies, pedal steel guitars, acoustic guitars, mandolin, electric guitars, Hammond B-3 organ, dobro, and even horns and strings. Politics? Nope.
Volume 2 features guest appearances from Janet Bean (Freakwater/11th Dream Day), Paul Mertens (Brian Wilson/Poi Dog Pondering), Bob Egan (Wilso/Blue Rodeo), Don Stiernberg (David Grisman), Pickles Piekarksi (John Prine), Jim Cox (Marian McPartland), Brian Wilke (Hoyle Bros.), Sue Demel (Sons of the Never Wrong), Gordon Patriarca, Steve Yates, Drew Enselman, Steve Rashid, and many more.
About the Artist:
Bucky Halker was born on the shores of Lake Superior in a worn-down iron ore and lumbering town. Since leaving his hometown at 18 he's done a lot of everything! A veteran songwriter, guitarist, and frontman, he has a dozen recordings to his credit, most of which feature original songs. His two most recent CDs, Don't Want Your Millions and Welcome to Labor Land, however, feature his interpretations of working-class labor protest songs.
Deeply grounded in the history of American music, Halker's music has always drawn heavily from folk, blues, bluegrass, R&B, country, roots rock, rockabilly, and honky tonk. That he gets lumped in the Alt Country/Americana category is amusing. He's been doing that kind of music for thirty years! Halker regularly tours Europe as a soloist and with his band, the Complete Unknowns. Three of his CDs have been released in Europe on Brambus Records.
A historian with considerable credentials, he has a PhD in US history and has published extensively on labor music, pop music, and working-class history. His book, For Democracy, Workers and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest was published by the University of Illinois Press in 1991. In 2007 he produced a 3-CD set, Folksongs of Illinois, for the University of Illinois Press. He currently lives in Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan.