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Arlon Bennett is an Americana songsmith telling of the human experience by bringing the past back to life and giving life to the inanimate. He has three CD’s to his credit and has given his voice to causes that include Hospice, hunger, and disabled U.S. Veterans. Arlon was twice selected by Noel “Paul” Stookey to perform in his Music-to-Life showcase featuring America’s best songs of social-consciousness. www.arlonbennett.com
Jon BrooksIn Jon Brooks’ words, “Ultimately, the folk singer is trying to politicize love – to lobby for compassion to be our principle representative in government office.” In 2009, his third CD, Moth Nor Rust, earned him his second Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for “Best Songwriter.” www.jonbrooks.ca
Rodney BrownRodney Brown is a master storyteller with a career spanning more than thirty years. His songs paint evocative pictures of the wonder and history of his home on the north shore of Lake Superior. Recent performances on CBC’s Vinyl Café have propelled the songwriter overseas to perform for Witney, England’s Journey of a Blanket Project. www.Rodneybrown.ca
Walt CroninWalt Cronin came into his own as a songwriter around the age of 50. His life experiences as a medic in Vietnam and somewhat nomadic life afterwards are the source of many of the folk songs he has written. Societal issues, love songs and some light-hearted fare make up the content of his work. Quote: “Tender and introspective songs with the kind of realness and authenticity that is becoming quite rare.” www.thegousters.com
John GorkaJohn Gorka is a songwriting veteran whose songs have been performed by such notables as Mary Chapin Carpenter and Nanci Griffith. He has been featured nationally on NPR, CMT, Austin City Limits and CNN. His new Red House release So Dark You See was named one of the Top Folk Albums of 2009 by the Boston Globe. www.johngorka.com
Laurie MacAllisterAmy SpeaceLaurie MacAllister (www.redmolly.com) is a member of the trio Red Molly featured on the cover of Dirty Linen for January 2010. Amy Speace (www.amyspeace.com) is on Judy Collins’ Wildflower label and is a buzz artist in the folk and Americana music scenes.Erik Balkey (www.erikbalkey.com) writes songs for the “Mission Street Project” where he explores topics of social and political relevance. He wrote “When The War Is Won” with accomplished folk and roots artist Pat Wictor (www.patwictor.com).
MagpieTerry Leonino and Greg Artzner, a.k.a. Magpie, are celebrating 35 years of singing together. They have made numerous recordings, including their 2004 release “Raise Your Voice,” and their acclaimed song cycle, “Sword of the Spirit,” songs about the abolitionist John Brown. Committed to singing for peace & justice, for the environment and to end racism, Magpie has sung in demonstrations around the country against the policies of every president since Lyndon Johnson. www.magpiemusic.com
George MannGeorge Mann grew up singing and playing guitar and has worked as a union organizer and editor/journalist when not performing. He’s been singing and recording since his teens, and his work with Julius spans the past 11 years. George writes and arranges many of their tunes, and has produced three CDs with Julius and five solo CDs besides creating the “Hail to the Thief” compilation series. www.georgemann.org
Julius MargolinJulius Margolin walked and sailed the planet for 93 years before his death on August 24, 2009. A CIO organizer, member of the Merchant Marine and National Maritime Union from 1940 until the FBI blacklisted him and pulled his seamen’s papers in 1949, Julius later found work as a film electrician and was IATSE Local 52’s labor editor and Central Labor Council Delegate for 34 years. His late-blooming career as a songwriter and performer is chronicled in the film “A Union Man” (www.aunionman.com) and at the website www.georgeandjulius.com
Holly NearHolly Near is a dynamic and powerful voice for change. After an impressive 40 years of work in global change movements, she continues to sing with a conviction and consistency that challenges and inspires audiences. A consummate entertainer, Holly engages audiences with songs and stories that heal, motivate, and inspire them to their best selves. www.hollynear.com
Emily NymanFor the past 20 years, Emily Nyman and Lynn Berry have been co-writing and recording songs that promote social and political awareness, including: “Shouting Out a Whisper – Quiet Protest”; “Spin of the Wheel: Kosovo – Anyone’s Homeland”; “My Youth” (fundraiser for Prevent Child Abuse Vermont); and “Poet-Painter”, (Human Rights Campaign, Jim Wheeler story). www.emilynymanmusic.com
Tom PaxtonTom Paxton has been writing and performing for 48 years in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc. His songs have been recorded by hundreds of artists like Pete Seeger, The Weavers, Judy Collins, Joan Baez and John Denver. He has released over 40 recordings and over a dozen songbooks and books for children. www.tompaxton.com
Utah PhillipsUtah Phillips (May 15, 1935-May 23, 2008) spent the 73 years and 8 days allotted him criss-crossing North America, writing songs and telling stories of the people, places and events overlooked by most. A founding lifetime member of traveling musicians’ Local 1000, AFM, co-founder of Hospitality House Shelter in Nevada City, California, and 50-plus years as a member of the IWW are but a few samples of his life’s work.
David RovicsDavid Rovics grew up in a family of classical musicians in Connecticut, and by the mid-90’s he was traveling the world as a professional flat-picking rabble-rouser. These days David lives with his family in Portland, Oregon and tours regularly on four continents, playing at cafes, pubs, universities, churches, union halls and protest rallies. He has shared the stage with a veritable who’s who of the left, and has had his music featured on Democracy Now!, BBC, Al-Jazzeera and other networks. www.davidrovics.com
Eric SchwartzEric Schwartz might be the only artist in history reviewed by both “Sing out!” and “Hustler.” He has toured as a folk singer, composed a Musical, had a couple of million-hit videos online, won the International Songwriting Competition’s Comedy/Novelty Song of the Year in 2009 as well as the Just Plain Folks Novelty CD of the year in 2009, composed and recorded a CD of Jazz/Swing Christmas songs, and had his music played on Howard Stern 100, NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’, and Air America. He currently resides in Los Angeles. www.ericschwartz.com