Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman – Union Town
You gotta love Tom Morello, he is one of a few artists that talk the talk and walk the walk. His politics are well known by anyone who has listened to Rage against the Machine. He supports human rights, political action, the rights of the poor; and he puts his money where his mouth is. He’s been arrested at protest. He’s often at the front line of protests and he never shies away from the mic. He is also a huge supporter of unions, which brings to this release.
Released under his Nightwatchman project, “UnionTown” is a benefit record to support the ongoing union fights inWisconsin. The open title track is a classic song of support much in the vein of classic Springsteen anthems and features Morello’s signature guitar work. The next few songs are classic protest anthems, sung in various styles, but all rooted on a folk tradition. An interesting turn is the classic song “16 Tons.” Done in a smooth, sultry jazz style, it features Morello slinking his voice around a smooth bassline. Up next is the classic Woody Guthrie song, “This Land is Our Land.” While many may think of these as a classic elementary school patriotic song, in reality it was originally a socialist response to Irving Berlins sappy “God BlessAmerica.” (See my post from a few years ago)This version contains some long forgotten verses that show just want Guthrie was thinking when he wrote it. “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” is a classic folk song about the famed labor activist. The final version is a live version of Morello’s “Union Song,” which was originally released a few years back. This version was performed at a rally inWisconsinand shows Morello’s support for the people there.
This is a great little album and it supports a great cause.