To commemorate International Workers’ Day, a.k.a. May Day (May 1), political firebrand/’90s rock icon Tom Morello has partnered with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to share tracks from the Union Town EP, the 2011 release from Morello’s Nightwatchman project.
Fans who submit their email addresses to the Teamsters’ website will receive a free download of several Union Town songs; SPIN were treated to mp3s of the short-player’s title track, “A Wall Against the Wind,” “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night,” and a live version of “Union Song” recorded in Madison, Wisconsin. The eight-track Union Town EP features covers of several pro-union anthems (Florence Reece’s “Which Side Are You On?” and Ralph Chaplin’s “Solidarity Forever,” to name two), plus a few Morello originals.
The Nightwatchman — who celebrated last year’s May Day by leading a “guitarmy” march with the Occupy Movement down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue — announced the free song campaign on Twitter earlier today. In a recent interview with Teamster organization’s blog, Morello explained his involvement in labor and union activism, saying, “I come from a coal mining family in central Illinois and unions were always a big part of the life and fabric of the town. It was always ingrained in me from the time I was a little kid that it’s the solidarity of workers that is a crucial counterbalance to corporate greed. And if we don’t stand up together, we will certainly be taken advantage of individually… I think in a time when the working class and unions are being assailed in the United States, I do my best to fight back with my music.”
He added, “My message to Teamsters and workers around the globe on May Day is a message of solidarity and pride in the countless accomplishments, victories, and struggles of workers around the globe, especially here in the United States. I will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters on the frontlines of workers’ struggles, social justice struggles, and do it all with a rocking soundtrack.”