By Karl Abrams
Bruce “U. Utah” Phillips, storyteller and tireless political folk musician for more than 40 years died in his sleep on May 23 at his home in Nevada City.
Called the “Golden Voice of the Southwest,” Phillips was a political activist and socialist who dedicated his life to protecting the rights of working people everywhere and speaking out against war every time he performed. The heart felt songs and humorous stories he shared on stage about his hobo life hopping trains and his passion for supporting labor unions and peace groups across the U.S. will not be forgotten.
As his heart condition got worse in the last few years, he turned his energies to starting a folk music radio show and a highly successful homeless shelter in his favorite Sierra Nevada town where he died at age 73.
The Beachhead had the great privilege of interviewing him just before a breath-taking musical performance at McCabes Guitar Shop in Santa Monica to a standing room only crowd (See March 2006 Beachhead article at http://www.freevenice.org).