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Alastair Moock
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Alastair Moock
WUMB
recorded on May 3, 2019

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WEEKLY GIVEAWAY
Giveaway Prize
This week 1 lucky WUMB Members will win a copy of the CD Son Volt "Union"!

The winners will be announced on the morning of Friday June 21.
Giveaway Info

On Son Volts new record, Union, present and past mingle into strong confluence. The thirteen new songs written by founder Jay Farrar confront our turbulent politics and articulate the clarity and comfort music can offer in the tumult. "There are so many forces driving our country apart," observes Farrar. "What can we do to bring our society back together?" On Union, Farrar taps into folk musics rich lyrical legacy. Its a tradition he has tapped often both in Son Volt and in Uncle Tupelo. "I was raised on folk music," observes Farrar. "Politics is a common thread there. In a time where we see threats to our way of life, and our democracy, from within, you say: What can I do? I put pen to paper and write music."

Initially, Farrar intended Union to be an explicitly political statement. "Midway through," he says, "I realized I needed some balance on the record." The result is a cluster of new songs that reflect on the power of love, time, and music to heal and sustain us.

Eight of the thirteen songs on Union were recorded at places associated with two figures in American history who Farrar says "made a difference": Renowned American labor activist Mary Harris "Mother" Jones and quintessential American troubadour Woody Guthrie. Three songs were laid down at the Mother Jones Museum in Mount Olive, Illinois, while four others were recorded at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Proximity to Guthrie and his legacy pushed strongly into Unions closing song: "The Symbol." The songs point of origin was Guthries 1948 poem "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos," which was later set to music by composer Martin Hoffman and is best-known as "Deportee." Guthrie wrote at a moment when "workers needed to work fields werent even considered as people," observes Farrar.

In "The Symbol," Farrar paints a compelling portrait of a Mexican man who helped rebuild New Orleans after Katrina and now finds himself buffeted by the wave of anti-immigration rhetoric and vengeful law enforcement.

Farrar says that the key to writing songs on topical issues that stand the test of time is to be a truthful observer. "Deportee made such a lasting impression on me," he observes. "But it was written in the 1940s. You have to give your own take. Say this is what happened. Even if it seems temporary. Hopefully its not."

Union
Track List

1. While Rome Burn
2. The 99
3. Devil May Care
4. Broadsides
5. Reality Winner
6. Union
7. The Reason
8. Lady Liberty
9. Holding Your Own
10. Truth to Power Blues
11. Rebel Girl
12. Slow Burn
13. The Symbol

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