Exclusive Premiere: John McCutcheon, ‘The Rebel Girl’
On May 1, John McCutcheon will celebrate the release of his 37th album, Joe Hill’s Last Will. As the LP’s title suggests, McCutcheon pays tribute to Swedish-American labor organizer and activist Joe Hill, and today (April 27), Diffuser is proud to partner with the folk singer-songwriter to premiere "The Rebel Girl" from the upcoming record -- stream it in the audio player below.
"'The Rebel Girl' is one of the few songs for which Joe Hill wrote both the words and the music," McCutcheon explains. "His usual stock-in-trade was re-writing the lyrics of popular songs of the day. He wrote the song as an encouragement to recruiting women into the Industrial Workers of the World [IWW], the union for which he worked. I believe, however, that he wrote this as a love song to IWW stalwart Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. That’s why I bucked 100 years of tradition that saw this song as a foot-stomping rally song and gave it a much more intimate, personal treatment."
He goes on, "Being as the lyrics are over 100 years old, I used a re-write by the great Hazel Dickens, who did wonders to 'modernize' the song."
Joe Hill’s Last Will is not only a tribute to the life of Hill, but it also serves to honor the 100th anniversary of the activist’s death (he was executed by firing squad in Utah on Nov. 19, 1915). You can grab more information on the disc at this location.
McCutcheon is in the middle of a tour in support of Joe Hill's Last Will. His next show is on the album's release day in Hickory, North Carolina; grab his full tour itinerary -- and stay current with everything happening in McCutcheon's world -- here.