I was lucky enough to see Utah Phillips at the Boston Folk Festival one year. An amazing storyteller, Phillips was also a staunch pacifist and fervent unionist.
The folksinger recently died. He was 73.
Mr. Phillips, over four decades on the road, combined storytelling with song, describing the plight of the working class, the power of labor unions and the necessity of direct action. He dubbed himself the "Golden Voice of the Great Southwest," but, like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, his words, more than his baritone voice, carried authority. He had been a soldier, a railroader, a state archivist, a union organizer, founder of a homeless shelter and homeless himself.
After serving in the Korean War, Philips rode the rails. He was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the wobblies.
Utah Phillips was introduced to whole new generation of listeners when he teamed up with Ani DiFranco.
A big voice stilled: Remembering Utah Phillips