Every Spring, Texas is favored by a whirlwind tour by folk and labor singer Anne Feeney. She travels by car through the state, north to south, to the famous Kerrville Folk Festival. Coming and going, she hits the major cities for impromptu concerts. No venue is too large or small. Feeney particularly likes to perform for union audiences, and has been in most of the hell-holes of American union struggles for many years.

Houston, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth were favored by Feeney this year. In Fort Worth, she teamed up with folk-rock-rapper Chris Chandler for a jolting performance at the 1919 Hemphill art center in Fort Worth on June 11. Feeney soloed on some of her own songs, but played mostly familiar folk and gospel music as she alternated with Chandler on cutting-edge satire.

Political ears must have sizzled as Chandler and Feeney clarified the current situation in America. No one was safe, but President Bush (“suffering from mad-cowboy disease”) was the butt of most of the jokes. At one point, Feeney stopped long enough to read a few paragraphs about her grandfather’s role as a steelworker in American labor history. She read from William Z. Foster’s account of the Great 1919 Steelworkers’ Strike.

Feeney’s collaboration with Chandler is available on a CD titled “The Wholly Stolen Empire.” Her own songs and some traditional renditions are on other CD’s available through www.annefenney.com. We will play them in Texas until she comes again.

– Jim Lane (pww@pww.org)