Phil Ochs was an American protest singer and songwriter known for his sharp wit, sardonic humor, earnest humanism, political activism, insightful and alliterative lyrics, and distinctive voice. Ochs was born on December 19, 1940. After years of prolific writing in the 1960s, Ochs’s mental stability declined in the 1970s and he committed suicide in 1976 at the age of 35.
The tribute show takes place on Sunday, December 18 at 7pm at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court. Musicians performing at “Get Your Phil On” have been asked to perform one or two Phil Ochs tunes and one of their own socially conscious songs. Confirmed performers include: Bill Schustik, Donna Marie Marcantonio, Joe Virga, Ted Halloran, Bill Vinhage, Karen Brooks and James Hawkins. Tickets are $5 in advance/$7 at the door. This is an evening for people who still believe in the power of folk music to effect change.
Most of Phil’s songs were very political, some humorous and some very serious. He wrote about the topics of the day – civil rights, Viet Nam, hungry miners, and personalities such as Billy Sol Estes and William Worthy. Some of his best known songs are: “Changes”, “There But For Fortune”, “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”, “Draft Dodger”, “Small Circle of Friends” and “When I’m Gone”. Forty years after his death, Ochs’s songs remain relevant. He continues to influence singers and fans world-wide, most of whom never saw him perform live. There are mailing lists and online discussion groups dedicated to Ochs and his music; websites that have music samples, photographs, and other links; and articles and books continue to be written and published about him. In February 2009, the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance gave the 2009 Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award to Phil Ochs.
photo from WSLR