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Promise and Protest: Labor in Song
Thursday, July 11, 2019 @ 7:00 pmFree
“Smokestack Lightning started over a decade ago at Pitt in the History Department as a band that re-created the songs of historical movements and peoples, like blues, labor songs, civil rights anthems, and immigrant ballads. As the band evolved, adding and changing members and repertoire, we kept a focus on songs of the working life and environmental change – but we opened up to arranging and playing favorite songs from a variety of bands and singers we admired as well as originals by band members. We have played many venues in and near Pittsburgh, ranging from shows at the Byham and Soldiers & Sailors Hall, to the Thunderbird, Biddle’s Escape, Mr. Small’s, and Point Breezeway; we often lend our talents to fundraisers, more recently for Operation Safety Net, and annually our concerts for the Sierra Club summer picnic and the many causes supported by the American Friends Service Committee.”
The Pittsburgh group Smokestack Lightning demonstrates the strength and diversity of music as a response to people’s experience of work –now and in the past —including its promise and the necessity of protest. Songs are drawn from the multi-ethnic traditions of blues, folk, gospel and protest as well as contemporary music.
Smokestack Lightning plays guitars, dobro, fiddles, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, double bass, and sing 3+ part harmony, with a wide range of musical styles from fiddle tunes to 1920’s blues to 1930’s Union songs to Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan covers, plus original tunes. They will share songs about social justice, the working man, and union strong.
Featuring special guest Pittsburgh songwriter and recording artist Mike Stout.
Mike Stout is an internationally known socially conscious singer song-writer and in your face take charge social activist. Taking his music to the picket lines and protest rallies Mike leads crusades against economic and environmental injustice calling people to action. Like his musical heroes Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger his songs urge people to unite in solidarity to fight for a better life and to fight for a world safe from war and environmental degradation. For more than three decades, Mike Stout has been writing, recording and performing songs that tell the stories of the working class heroes of U.S. labor history and their struggles for peace, social justice and a decent standard of living.