Peter K. Siegel and Eli Smith perform American folk music rooted in the “old time” styles that originated in the rural South. These musical styles feel very much at home with the union songs that Joe Hill wrote to traditional folk tunes, the ballads that Aunt Molly Jackson composed in the heat of the Kentucky coal wars, and the topical-political songs of the Almanac Singers.
Recently, the issues that these union songs address have been in the headlines again. States have passed new laws to prevent workers from organizing and joining unions. Income disparity is at an all-time high. Corporations have dramatically increased their influence over the lives and futures of ordinary Americans. The words of these vintage labor songs seem strangely contemporary again. It's easy to forget that some of them are over 100 years old.
Peter Siegel (voice, guitar, banjo) is a musician and record producer who makes records of folk and roots music. His recent three-CD set “Friends of Old Time Music” was released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. The New York Times called it “a boxed set of awesome and concentrated power” and The Boston Globe called it “a precious, wildly beautiful document.”
Eli Smith (voice, guitar, banjo, slide guitar, harmonica) is a musician, writer, researcher, and promoter of folk music. He plays in a string band called The Down Hill Strugglers and presents and hosts the annual Brooklyn Folk Festival. He also hosts the internet radio show “Down Home Radio."
Peter and Eli are joined on this CD by Andy Statman, mandolin; Craig Judelman, fiddle; and Walker Shepard, guitar. A 20-page booklet features notes by historian Cliff Conner and archival photos related to the songs on the album.