Every year about this time, one can hear that train a rolling round the bend. And this Saturday evening, February 7th, folks will get the chance to hear some great Johnny Cash songs and much more at the Worthington Golf Course Ballroom, 3414 Roseland Ave., Parkersburg.
The Parkersburg office of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia is excited to present their annual fundraiser, which has become affectionately known as the “Cash Bash.” But this year the musical tributes will include many of Cash’s contemporaries with whom he shared the stage and more than a few colorful times.
“This year’s event will not only feature Cash songs, but also songs from Willie, Waylon, George and other rambunctious classic country songwriters,” said music coordinator Jeff Fox. “With a career the size of Johnny’s, he essentially touched or influenced nearly every artist, country or otherwise, from the 1950’s until his death in 2003,” said Fox.
The doors will open at 7 p.m. and music will begin around 7:30 p.m. The format will feature area musicians performing their renditions of various “Cash and Friends” songs. Each artist will perform a 15 to 20 set.
“Along with the music we will also be having contests and raffles to help raise money,” Children’s Home Society of WV state director Steve Tuck said, “we’ll also be giving away two tickets to this weekend’s Mountain Stage concert in Charleston and we even have a piece of jewelry made by one of Johnny and June Carter Cash’s daughters!”
At the end of the evening, Ben Davis Jr. & The Dirt Poor Troubadours with special guest Chris Keesey will close out the night’s festivities with an up-tempo set of great music. Ben Davis Jr. and his band will be making a return performance from last year’s show to support the fundraiser.
“It’s great to have area musicians who enjoy playing and giving back to the community, they truly get on board with our idea of raising money for a great cause and playing some fun music along the way,” Tuck said.
Music fans can also support the cause by purchasing chili & cheese with chips and homemade cookies which will be available at the show. Tickets for the show are a recommended donation of $10, but music fans and supporters are never turned away due to financial reasons. Tickets will be available at the door the night of the show. Call 304-485-0650 for more details.
“This show is guaranteed fun, the musicians really come up with some interesting twists on some great songs too,” said Fox, “and after all, who wants to miss out on the fun and be left with a case of the Folsom Prison Blues the rest of the winter?”
As the summer temperatures increase so do the number of outdoor musical events in the Mid-Ohio Valley and nearby areas. One can find festivals at college campuses, remote mountaintop farms and even in minor league stadiums … all of which are extremely entertaining. But one of the the best kept bargains of great original music can be found this weekend in the river village of Pomeroy, Ohio.
This weekend, Friday July 25th and Saturday July 26th, will mark the 14th anniversary of the Big Bend Blues Bash. The festival is the result of the hard work of the Pomeroy Blues and Jazz Society (www.pomeroyblues.org) and Pomeroy area businesses and supportive citizens. The Bash has undergone a metamorphosis over those 14 years … And while the weekend is still rooted in the blues, all types of original music genres are represented by the excellent lineup of performers.
The Bash has a great setting overlooking the “big bend” in the Ohio River from its perch next to Main St. The stage, sound and lighting are all of excellent quality and music fans can chose to set up their camp chairs at varying distances depending on their tastes in volume. Traditionally, over half a dozen food vendors attend the event offering unique food and beverages. Plus downtown Pomeroy businesses also welcome the music lovers.
Now for lovers of live, original music, this show is truly a no-brainer. It’s an easy and scenic 40 minute drive from Parkersburg (US 50 to OH 7 South), has a lineup packed full truly interesting and talented bands and is one of the best bargains in music festival pricing you’ll find all summer long. Only $15 for Friday evening, $20 for a full day of music on Saturday … Or the intelligent package deal of $25 for the entire weekend!
As mentioned before this festival has grown over the years. Once a single day event rigidly adhering to the blues genre … the organizers listened to feedback and met the demand of the audience. Essentially folks wanted a little more variety and more music is always a good thing. Hence the evolution into a two day festival.Generally Friday night is seen as more of the “work-week-is-done time to blow of some steam” night.Maybe a little more aggressive, a little more rock and roll, a little crazier … and this year will not be and exception. OK … Saturday will be just as raucous of hootenanny … but folks shouldn’t forgo Friday evening!
At 6 pm area classic rockers Blitzkrieg will rock their many local fans. Then get ready for an uptempo dose of The Beatles provided by The Lennon Orchestra (7 pm) which hails from the Athens & Columbus area. Next up … blues fans this is your cue … Michael Locke and the Repeat Offenders (8 pm) return to Pomeroy with some Stratocaster fueled blues. Rip Lee Pryor (9 pm) is up next with some smokin’ Chicago style blues that harp fans will surely enjoy. Closing out the Friday night show at 10 pm will be everybody’s favorite simians … The Gas House Gorillas from NYC! The Gorillas are hauling a truckload of swagger and attitude, blues & swing & soul & rock n’ roll back to Pomeroy And this is just Friday’s lineup … whew!
Saturday’s lineup highlights some great southeastern Ohio musicians throughout the afternoon and kicks off at high noon with local alt-country rockers, Ben Davis Jr. and the Dirt Poor Troubadours. The Meigs county favorites have been working on some new tunes for a Bash debut! At 1 pm the .32-20 Band from Charleston, WV will provide a dose of some classic blues ala Waters, Wolf and Reed … but faithfully amp it up to today’s modern blues sound! Sonic diversity hits the main stage at 2 pm as Ecco Mecca returns to the Bash with an intoxicating blend of electronica with dashes of jazz, soul and groove. Bash alumni, The Magic Mama Band, bring the blues, soul, funk and high powered vocals to the main stage at 3pm … expect a great local following and plenty of newly won over fans! At 4 pm another local fave, the Blue Z Band keeps the afternoon rolling with a great mix of blues, classic rock and all songs perfect for fun in the sun. At 5 pm the Bash will switch gears with a wonderful set of Appalachian Americana from the hills of Kentucky with Sasha Colette. Next up are old friends and blues competition winners of the Pomeroy Blues and Jazz Society, Chaz Humley and the Effects from South Charleston. Chaz and the gang are right in the pocket with a solid blues groove they rode to Memphis!
At 7 pm the segue begins to more national talent as guitar slinger Howard Glazer and the EL-34’s take the main stage. The award winning Detroit guitarist may offer up some Diddley-style, some classic shuffles, some all out rock … but be ready for the fiery slide guitar work that has wowed fans around the world! At 8 pm Simo returns to one of their fave places to play. If you’ve caught them at the Grill, then you know this is red hot, straight ahead blues rock from a couple decades back, but folks it’s all fresh and new … no wonder Bonamassa calls JD Simo one of his favorite guitar players out there today! At 9:30 pm the Devon Allman Band will jam! Sure he’s got a famous father, but this is all Devon. The group is touring in support of their recent album “Turquoise”. Allman strikes out with a solid southern blues rock groove full of soul and storytelling that only a child of rock and roll could retell!
The party doesn’t stop once the Bash winds down each night either! The Court Street Grill will be jamming on Friday night with the Red Stone Souls from Detroit and on Saturday night get ready to see the strings played off a Stratocaster with the Noah Wotherspoon Band. Both shows start 10 pm-ish! See ya’ there!
A packed house at Marietta’s Hotel Lafayette enjoyed thirteen afternoon performances by musicians hoping to win the 22nd Annual River City Blues Competition. Six bands made the cut and will be competing Saturday evening for the winner’s spot. Greezy Juke, The Dany Franchi Band, Blues Chronicles, Deuce n’a Quarter, The Noah Wotherspoon Band and The Tee Dee Young band will be battling it out for top honors.
The winner will receive $1000 and Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society sponsorship to the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. The BJFMS may also choose to send a solo/duo act if one places in the top three.
Music, bright lights and big cities across America have long been associated with one another. Chicago and the blues, Seattle and grunge rock, the arena rock band spawning ground of L.A.’s Sunset Strip, the show tunes and glam rock pioneers of N.Y.C. … and of course there’s country music and Nashville, arguably the strongest of all these metro-music relationships.
But Nashville is much more than the heavily orchestrated slick country rock sounds of platinum award winning albums. More precisely, East Nashville is the anti-thesis of the glamor, gloss and often superficiality of its huge neighbor. The area is characterized by quaint neighborhoods and an outdoorsy, artsy, working class style. And East Nashville also is home to some of the hottest alternative/folk/country/rockers creating music these days.
Kevin Gordon just so happens to be one of those alt folk rockers who has long been receiving critical acclaim from music industry insiders, while at the same time trying to pay the bills and raise a family in his little slice of East Nashville. Gordon routinely tours the Midwest and Southeast with an occasional foray into the Northeast; mostly as a solo performer driving many a mile in his trusty minivan.
Maybe the best barometer of Gordon’s down to earth journeyman musician story is the fact that he’s already played in Parkersburg, WV two times and on Sunday October 6th he’ll chalk up number three. Gordon, bassist Ron Eoff and a drummer TBA will be appearing the Worthington Ballroom located at 3414 Roseland Ave ., Parkersburg, WV 26104. Even though his solo shows are certainly lively, it’s a bit of a rare treat to catch Gordon in “small combo” mode. It’s gonna rock!
From a great review in Rolling Stone magazine of his recent release Gloryland to an early Sunday evening show in Wood County working to make a living is a solid testament to Gordon’s love of music and performing it live! (Check out the Gloryland review here! Gordon’s 3 ½ star rating was second only to The Boss’s 5 star rating for Wrecking Ball which was reviewed in the same print issue. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/gloryland-20120314)
The doors will open at 6 p.m. and Andy Tuck, from one of WV’s hardest working and most beloved bands The Greens, will kick the music off at 7 pm. Tuck will be acoustically performing tunes from his huge library of original songs, but if one knows Andy they understand that there will be no lack of the energy and inspiration which drives his live shows.
Tickets are only $10 and will be available at the door the night of the show. To learn more about Kevin Gordon and his music visit http://kg.kevingordon.net/ . For more on Andy Tuck and The Greens visit http://www.reverbnation.com/thegreens.
For more information on this show, or on hosting a live music event at your home or venue, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday November 23rd, AC30 will be making the drive north from Huntington to play the Worthington Ballroom. The show will also feature Cadillac Lester, Haggard Wulf and a special performance from Todd Burge & Jimmy Clinton. The show will also help Old Man Rivers Mission by collecting canned goods for a reduced at the door ticket price. Bring 3 cans get in for $8!
PM Beat: How long have you all been playing together?
Ian: “We began playing around in the studio late 2009 and played our first live show with (Alex, Bud, Ryan and myself) New Year’s Eve 2010.”
PM Beat: Is AC30 a creation from any former bands, or did everybody start as new performers/first band?
Ian: “Ryan and I were originally in a short lived band together called Whirling Dervish. Around the middle of 2009 we lost our lead guitarist and Bud, having heard us at a local venue previously, was down to fill the spot. That band shortly faded out and we began hanging out and recording some tracks at Bud’s Trackside Studios. This material eventually turned into the early makings of AC30. Most of that album was done with only Ryan, Bud and me. Alex came along during the process, as well as Doug who had recently moved back from Atlanta. Then, PJ was the last to come on board. Our good buddy, Rod Elkins, also played a couple of shows with us.”
PM Beat: I know the Vox AC30 amp … and you don’t see many bands playing Rickenbacker guitars … was there a focused effort to gravitate toward the equipment based on any particular influencing artists?
Ian: “Well, not really I don’t think … ha-ha. Bud came up with the name and we all really dug it. I suppose it kind of gives you a glimpse of what to expect from us, but since everyone in the band writes, I feel like we’re really across the board stylistically. And no one actually plays an AC30. As for the Ric’s, both Ryan and I have had ours for years, happy coincidence I suppose. Who doesn’t like a Ric?”
PM Beat: I appreciate you guys playing on Nov. 23rd at the historic Worthington Ballroom and you seem to be open to gigs … how many shows do you normally like to play a month?
Ian: “We appreciate the offer to play that room! When it comes to shows, I suppose it depends on what else is going on. If we’re trying to record, our focus is mostly on that. But when we’re playing we like to play about 6-8 times a month. Given that everyone has a day job, we’re pretty much restricted to Thurs-Sat for shows. So we focus on short weekend runs around the region.”
PM Beat: Can you think of any one show in particular, where everything just seemed to align and flow, and when you looked out to the audience the band was shocked by the sheer number of people and the amount of fun they were having?
Ian: “We’re still a relatively new band, so as of yet we haven’t played any enormous shows really. But this past Halloween show in Huntington might have been just about our best show yet. All the elements were there for that one. The band was playing very well, the sound was tight and there were a couple hundred people in the audience just eating up everything we threw at them. Everything just seemed to click and it was a blast on our end.”
PM Beat: It is show business, with the duty of the band to both play and entertain … who are some artists, which you may have seen live or via media, which have a performance style which AC30 enjoys/incorporates?
Ian: “That’s one of the aspects I believe we’re still getting comfortable with, stage presence. I think we put on pretty good show, but granted, we’re no KISS … ha-ha. Everyone adds their own element and stage persona. We don’t really think about that in terms of emulating any one. We all like the Who, those guys definitely had presence.”
PM Beat: I’m a firm believer that egos are destructive in the music business and that bands need a thick skin and calm demeanor to get through the unhappy things that pop up from time to time … what is the smallest crowd you have ever played before that really made you scratch your head and wonder “what happened?”
Ian: “Yea, one of the strongest things about our band is the fact that egos are left at the door. So many times you can get all the best players together, but they’ll form the worst band. The camaraderie of our band is one of my favorite aspects of AC30. We’re all in it for the same reason, to make music we love and to have fun doing it. You can’t take this stuff too seriously or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Shitty shows happen, that’s just the nature of the beast. Sometimes the smallest crowd can be one of the funnest shows. For instance, we played in Knoxville to about 7-10 people. Drove 5+ hours to get there and was a little beat but I felt that it was one of our best shows because those 7 people really dug what we were doing.”
PM Beat: Every bands has different aspirations and realities due to day to day life … if you could add something (a tour with a well- known band, chance to record with a well-known producer, increased media recognition of your work so far, adding another talented musician to bring a new angle to the bands sound, etc…) to the world of AC30 what do you think the band would enjoy gaining?
Ian: “Like you said, we’re realistic. We don’t really have aspirations to be as big as the Beatles or anything. Personally, I really like the chemistry of our band. I think we all come together and work really well as a group. We all have our own strengths that contribute to our sound and overall workings as a band. Having Bud and Ryan in the band especially helps out with our recording process. It’s not like we have to shell out tons of money and desperately try to knock out X amount of songs in a weekend. We can focus on making great records. Though, we do enjoy getting out of our normal confines to do a little work elsewhere as with Eddie Ashworth (Athens) or Roger Nichols (Nashville). I think our main focus at this point is making the best records we can and gaining as many fans as possible to share them with. So yea, if Petty needs an opener anytime soon I’m sure we’d be more than happy to oblige.”
PM Beat: Fans, other bands, maybe even some band mates do some hysterical things from time to time while you are performing … does any event spring to mind where AC30 just had to step back and get a good laugh out of their system before starting or finishing a live song?
Ian: “Our Huntington shows always come with some nice banter both from the crowd and from us as well. So you never know what you’re going to hear, but it can get pretty comical at times. One of the things that comes to mind would be when we were covering “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin” with PJ singing and as opposed to the song’s normal city shout outs, PJ decided to add WV towns on the fly instead and it worked out incredibly well. We all about lost it on that one. Maybe you had to be there.. lol.”
PM Beat: I’m sure everyone in the band loves creating music … but when you step away from the band what are some of the non-musical things that you enjoy or are a little fanatical about?
Ian: “I think we all have our own things we do outside the band. Granted we’re not necessarily a “young” band so we all definitely have our responsibilities to take care of. I’m still cutting my teeth as a promoter here in Huntington, founding the Huntington Music & Arts Festival back in 2010. Bud just keeps getting better with his recording craft and taking part in starting the ‘Live at Trackside’ video series. The rest of the fellas all have day jobs/girlfriends…etc as well. So sometimes when we’re not making music, we’re still doing music stuff I suppose.”
If there’s one thing that can be said about Thanksgiving, it is consistent. Always falling on the fourth Thursday of November and generally providing a day of feasting, lounging and snoozing for most people. The next day takes on a whole meaning, as folks are ready to get out of the house and socialize. There’s no better place to do it than with a line up of hot bands! Plus also donating non perishable canned goods (13-17oz. cans) to benefit Parkersburg area food banks is a wonderful thing.
On Friday November 23rd, Huntington rockers AC30 will make their way to the historic Worthington Ballroom in North Parkersburg. Uniquely named after the historic Vox guitar amplifier of the same designation, one could also view historic Vox AC30 amp users as influences for the power pop band. Pete Townsend, Peter Buck, Keith Richards, Brian May, the Edge and many more have crafted some of rock catchiest riffs through the amps speakers … and one can ad AC30 (the band) to that list as well!
AC30 features Bud Carroll – Guitar/Vox, Alex Mccoy – Drums/Vox, Ian Thornton – Bass/Vox, Ryan Weaver – Guitar/Vox, Doug Woodard – Acoustic Guitar/Vox, Rod Elkins – Guitar/Percussion/Aux Man and P.J. Woodard – Organ/Keys. Yes you read it right, seven performers focused on creating one, big lush sound.
While AC30 is fast approching their two year birthday as a band, the group continues to work hard at numerous live shows throughout the tri-state area bringing their music to the people. All this adds up to crisp, clean, tight and powerful music for the masses!
Also joining AC30 on the ballroom stage will be Marietta’s Cadillac Lester. The power rockabilly trio have been jamming it old school in the Mid Ohio Valley playing a unique brand of 50’s & 60’s physco-rockabilly. The trio consists of Jesse Forrest singing and strumming a big ole hollowbody electric, Tom Trout providing vocals and laying it down on the skins and David McIntyre slapping an upright bass until it pops some low end groove!
Folks who have been listening to live music in the Parkersburg area for the past 30 years understand the Todd Burge and Jimmy Clinton musical relationship. They’ve been working together since the early 80’s on all types of musical projects. Of course, both are also well known for their solo accomplishments. Burge as one of WV’s hardest working acoustic songwriters and Clinton as the Americana rocker with diverse musical influences. Mix the two together and the result is some mighty fine pickin’ and storytellin’!
Doors will open at 7pm and it is advised to get there on time. The Worthington Ballroom is a great venue, but it does have occupancy regulations (first 200 people) and we are expecting a huge show! Tickets at the door will be $10 however … a person bringing 3 cans (approx. 13-17 oz.) of non perishable food items to the door and can get in for $8 at the door, while tickets last. Food collected will benefit Old Man River’s Mission pantry.
The show is 21 and up. Also featured will be microbrew from the North End Tavern.
The Worthington Ballroom is located at 3414 Roseland Avenue in Parkersburg, WV. It is located at the corner of Roseland and Fairview avenues and across the street from Parkersburg Catholic High School.
You know the night … the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. November 21st this year to be exact. Friends from out-of-town visiting, or maybe just some local friends with a rare Thursday holiday and a day off from work. Sure you could hang out at home or you could go to a crowded bar and fight your way through the boredom … or you could come out and get rocked by Jesse Smith and the Holy Ghost at the historic Worthington Ballroom in North Parkersburg!
For those of you who don’t know, the former Zao rocker and founder, has assembled a new project that needs to be seen and heard! Sure one could look back at Smith’s many past successes, but as they say the future is now. And now means new songs and a new band!
“Over the years I have struggled to find my niche as a songwriter,” Smith said. “I’m a huge fan of heavy music, but I’ve always been into all types of stuff. When I began writing these songs, I just wrote from the heart, with no preconceived notions of what they would turn out to be.” And yes it rocks!
The show will also feature the power duo Farnsworth from Charleston, WV. Farnsworth is composed of drummer Jason Reese and guitarist/vocalist Chris Vance. Influenced by listening to many classic rock albums from the 70’s, the duo packs a ton of punch into their retro flavored power groove. If you dig a good riff, and like to feel it too, Farnsworth will not disappoint!
Returning to the Worthington Ballroom for this show will also be Parkersburg rockers, The Remnants. The four piece group relies on influences from a wide range of rock and roll from the 60’s to present. But don’t think for a moment that this is “classic rock” … it is original rock! The Remnants are masterful in putting together 4 minute long blasts of power pop, a trademark signature sound and just simply great songs!
As if three bands weren’t enough for one evening the show will kick off with a special performance by area songwriters Michael J. Iafrate and Mike Lutz. The two songwriters will open the show by trading off one song at a time, certain to keep the first slot very interesting. Deep, dark, joyous, failure, love, hate, promise, kindness and the weight of the world will likely be debated.
Doors will open at 7pm and it is advised to get there on time. The Worthington Ballroom is a great venue, but it does have occupancy regulations and we are expecting a huge show! Tickets are $7 in advance by using the PayPal link below. You will receive a confirmation email from email@example.com a little while after you have completed the checkout. Your name will be added to the will call list as well. Tickets at the door will be $10.
The show is 21 and up. Also featured will be microbrew from the North End Tavern.
The Worthington Ballroom is located at 3414 Roseland Avenue in Parkersburg, WV. It is located at the corner of Roseland and Fairview avenues and across the street from Parkersburg Catholic High School.
Folks and fellow citizens of our great country, I come here with a promise, one which you can count on, one which to look to the future, Friday November 9th to be exact. My promise is simple, a great night of rock and roll. In fact, since we will be at the Worthington Ballroom (3414 Roseland Ave.,Parkersburg), we can even call it a celebration as we move our rock and roll agenda forward! But don’t worry, there’s no votes to cast or commercials to watch … just fun to be had as The Jimmy Clinton Band, Haggard Wulf (from Morgantown) and Ben Davis Jr. (from the great town of Pomeroy, Ohio).
Jimmy Clinton (guitar and vocals), Vincenzo Mele (bass and Townsend-esque jumping splits) and Jeremy Harman (drums and facial expressions) will be sharing their platform of kick-ass, original roots rock and roll. Drawing on blues masters, folk legends and new south rockers, the Jimmy Clinton Band provides powerful blasts of original rock and roll guaranteed to move your booty!
What do Johnny Cash, The Misfits, Slayer, Molly Hatchet, Robert Johnson and Hank Williams have in common? Nope … they’re not all dead but they do all reside in Haggard Wulf’s musical influences! Make no mistake, the Morgantown duo of guitarist Frank Gunner and drummer/vocalist Lee Roy Jenkins mash all those influences up and distill them down to some mighty unique tunes. Haggard Wulf claims to be “hellbent for haggardness” which translates to raw energy. Gunner and his Gretsch hollowbody provide the groove while Jenkins adds the exclamation points from his Neil Peart-esque (not) drum kit while delivering quirky lyrics about the good, the bad and the ugly while living a haggard-ass life.
Ben Davis Jr. is a young man of several beliefs. “I’ve learned that if you really want to change the world you need to base your lifestyle on the principle of love,” Davis Jr. exclaims. That, and several others, are the foundation on which his lyrics are built. As a fan of Todd Snider, The Avett Brothers, Butch Walker, Ryan Adams and more, his music falls solidly into the Americana/Folk genre. Armed with steady acoustic guitar strumming, a smattering of harmonica and his honest voice, Davis Jr. opens up a little window into his personal feelings of finding happiness, bittersweet reality and the spirit which drives on to look to the future … some things of which we all can relate or at least use a reminder. http://
Tickets for the 21 & up event will be available for $5 the night of the show. Doors will open at 7pm with music starting around 8pm. As usual libations from the North End Tavern will be available for purchase, as well as other canned goods. My fellow Americans, I’ll see you Friday night!
Are you a worker? Have you been a worker? If so, then today is your holiday, Labor Day. Historians generally cite that the Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea of a holiday for labor spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers across America.
Throughout the years Labor Day celebrations began to grow and several municipal ordinances were passed during 1885 and 1886 to recognize the holiday. Not surprisingly the first state to introduce Labor Day legislation was New York, but the first state to pass a Labor Day law was Oregon on February 21, 1887. As the year progressed, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York all created a Labor Day holiday by legislative means. Soon Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania would enact Labor Day legislation. By 1894, 30 states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and then all the states.
But just exactly what is Labor Day? The Department of Labor describes Labor Day as follows, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” As one can see, Labor Day is one of our few all inclusive holiday’s which sets no boundaries based upon a person’s religion or country of origin or involvement in any specific organization.
Some are fortunate enough to grow up in a home where their mother and father were part of our countries workforce in the 1940’s. While many of our men and women served around the world as World War II raged, many other men and women labored tirelessly at home to help guarantee us victory in this horrific conflict. Not only did the war force domestic workers into improbable careers for that era, often symbolized by the well-known depiction of “Rosie the Riveter,” but our domestic workforce also met the demands of wartime rationing and all the stresses placed upon the traditional family. Not only did workers help build our country, but they also helped our country to survive. Certainly many brave men and women have died valiantly defending our great nation, but also remember that many hardworking men and women perished while building a nation worth defending.
The great unified workforces of the 1900’s also stood together and addressed a long list of issues important to all the workers in our great country. They negotiated with employers and spoke with local, state and federal elected officials about the importance of weekends for rest and family time, overtime pay, an 8-hour workday, a guarantee of a minimum wage for their work, paid vacation days, sick days, health benefits, retirement benefits and compensation when a worker loses their job through no fault of their own.
But workers also made great strides in a couple other areas, strides that are often forgotten and taken for granted or worse yet, scoffed at today by some ungrateful citizens. Workers demanded safer working conditions. Employers often forced workers to work in overcrowded and outdated structures which faced huge risks from fire. These conditions also forced workers to endure extreme conditions such has heat, cold, improper ventilation, biological hazards and more. As America began to further industrialize, workers were faced with even greater risks from all the things listed earlier plus, dangerous machinery, toxic fumes and gases, chemicals and carcinogens, highly flammable and explosive work environments and other factors created during the boom in manufacturing after World War II. Look around the Mid-Ohio Valley and you can see many of the facilities, or their successors, in operation today. Chemical plants, steel mills, power plants, coal mines and many other workplaces where workers rallied together to not only create a safer work environment but a safer community as well.
One other important area of labor’s influence is in the creation of child labor laws. As America industrialized, many families moved from rural to urban communities. The rapid expansion of American industry, not unlike that seen in many Asian countries today, led to an extreme demand of workers. Children were often employed because they could fit into and access areas which were difficult for adults, but probably the two main reasons were children were easy to control and they could be paid less than an adult worker. At one time nearly 25% of the American workforce was under the age of sixteen, often working in very dangerous conditions. Eventually the Fair Labor Standards Act and other state and federal laws began to address the problem child labor. These conditions are often difficult for Americans to visualize today, but one must imagine that parents today would not want their children to be excluded from an education, the sports team, music lessons, dance class or any family activity because they were working in a factory as an 11 year old.
Many battles have been fought by the men and women of labor since the beginning of our country. There have been wins and losses along the way, but also an ongoing desire to raise everyone’s standard of living, not just a few. Does anyone truly believe that the raises given by an employer 100 years ago or today are given out of the goodness of the employer’s heart? The answer is a resounding no for the majority of employers. As you listen to the many political speeches to be delivered this election season, pay attention to those who lean towards the working class of America and keep both a wary eye and mind focused on those who believe that unions and worker groups have outlived their usefulness and that corporate well-being is the key to our countries future. Every day unions are fighting so that all workers, both organized and unorganized, can raise their standard of living, build a strong, community engaged middle class and provide a little nicer opportunity for our next generation.
It is your Labor Day. Relax, remember and enjoy!
Once again area blues fans packed the Hotel Lafayette ballroom for day two of the 20th Annual Blues Competition. Ten acts took to the stage in hopes of advancing to Saturday night’s finals. On Friday evening, Big Al & the Capital City Players and Mojo Theory both from Columbus, OH earned a spot in the finals.
On Saturday afternoon, four more acts found their ticket to the finals. Solo artists Luther Trammell of Elyria, OH and Gary Applegate from Indianapolis, IN advanced to the final round. They will be joined by two bands, the Tee Dee Young Band from Lexington, KY and the Magic Mama Band from Gallipolis, OH.
Stay tuned for more details.