Here's what Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary says:
I adore Anne Feeney not only because she's a wonderful songwriter, which she is, but also because she's a person who has lived her songs. In the same way that Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie are role models for the kind of spirit that Peter, Paul & Mary convey to audiences and, to some extent, Peter, Paul & Mary become role models to others, Anne is a role model for us.
She's a person who lives the spirit of music in the sense of the best songwriters, not simply as an entertainer. She participates passionately and with great compassion in struggles for justice.
Here's a review from Pause/Record:
Today's folk music is filled with the influences of labor music. From Joe Hill to Woody to Pete, many of the longest lasting songs are songs of the working class and those fighting for them. While these influences are rich, the labor song genre has been lacking in the past decade or so. For many of this and the last generation the only songs speaking of workers' rights have been Joan Baez's "Joe Hill" at Woodstock or Rage Against the Machine. Even the venerable political trio Peter, Paul and Mary have had a limited voice to new listeners. Organizing music may have lost some audience but it has never lost its voice. It may be that torch that has been picked up by Anne Feeney, an unabashed union maid and self-proclaimed hellraiser. In one CD you can not only find a true and spirited bow to the classics of the labor movement, but hear a fresh look at the state of the protest song today. You won't read tomorrow's paper the same afterwards.
Descended from a long line of labor organizers in the steel mills of Pennsylvania, Anne Feeney keeps the family tradition of activism alive through her powerful political folk music. Feeney's music is forceful and militant even when it is just her solo, as it often is at rallies at places like the WTO protests in Seattle. Listeners quickly become participants when Feeney performs, however, belting out choruses to gospel numbers or the barroom-boogie of "Whatever Happened To The Eight Hour Day." On record Feeney is joined by several other musicians, including bass, drums, guitars, harmonicas, horns and most especially, voices. In the process of identifying heros and villains, traditions of class resistance and the humanizing the heartless history of capital, Anne Feeney becomes not just a folk singer but something of a working class hero herself.
Review by Genn Chryst, Guardsman Editor, SF City College
...easily one of the best CD's I've heard in a long, long time. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting from a labor songs collection but it certainly wasn't anything this wonderful.
If you love the socially responsible aspect of the 60's folk-revolution music, you will love this CD. Anne Feeney kicks out a song selection that has more social conscience than Joan Baez does, but without the ear-cramping high notes. Every song is a cutting social commentary used to either pierce the heart or cut people down to size. But don't think for a second that this CD is depressing or simply a different version of the musical temper-tantrums that fuel the music-media's hate fest these days.
Her songs are sad, funny, angry, and sarcastic, yet at the same time they are incredibly inspiring and motivating for the truth that they speak. Feeney gives voice to our anger but in a way that clarifies it even to us.
Labor singers have always written their songs to specific melodies and styles that were popular at the time. True to tradition Feeney has managed to incorporate an amazingly diverse array of styles including traditional Irish and Mexican ballads, Black spirituals, reggae, boogie, hip-hop, and ska into this CD. What's even more amazing is that it works! Nothing seems out of place. It all flows together so well that I didn't realize until the third listening that there was such an extreme variety of styles going on.
Feeney uses these different styles to form a kind of musical travelogue of the world's condition that takes you from America's heartland to a pub in Ireland, from the Nazi concentration camps of Europe, through Central America, and to a place I'm sure, lies somewhere near the soul of Birmingham, Alabama.
... one of my all time favorite CD's. And with her wonderful and versatile vocals and passion for what she sings I definitely want to hear a lot more of Anne Feeney.
Check out the artist's website:
1. War on the Workers
2. Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?
3. Whatever Happened to the 8 Hour Day?
4. We Just Come to Work Here
5. National Health Care Now!
6. We Do the Work
8. Union Maid
9. Bread and Roses
10. Solidarity Forever
11. School Days End
12. Your Nursing Heart
13. I'm Gonna Be an Engineer
15. Fannie Sellins
16. Which Side Are You On?
17. Are My Hands Clean?
18. After School
19. Punch It In
20. The Victim Gets the Blame
21. The Sick Note
22. The U.S. Steal Song
23. Praise Boss