Labor of Love
With a Ph.D. in history, folk singer and songwriter Bucky Halker knows where he comes from. That's why he's still singing
the working-class songs he heard growing up in blue-collar Ashland, Wis.
Halker has released half a dozen albums over the past two decades that chronicle the daily lives – and untimely deaths – of regular folks struggling to get by. The latest album from this Chicago resident, "Welcome To Labor Land," pulls together union songs written in Illinois, with some numbers going back to the mid-19th century.
The album brings together some little-known tunes such as Woody Guthrie's "Dying Miner," a song about the 1947 Centralia coal
mine disaster, as well as introducing some melodies Halker composed to accompany poems he found in union newspapers.
See how the rise and fall of coal mining in southern Illinois affects working class communities by watching
Greg Boozell's documentary about the coal-town of Marissa.
Check out some of the other Illinois artists who help keep American folk music alive:
Sons of the Never Wrong and