Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chicago Benefit

The folks in Chicago are planning a benefit on June 14, at the Heartland Cafe. Anyone who would like to participate in the planning or might be interested in performing can give Mike Felten a call. I will post his info on the side of the blog.

It's been amazing to hear from folks around the country planning benefits for Utah. Last fall when dad's health forced him to retire I remember sitting in the living room with him and Joanna trying to figure out ways to generate income with out touring. Dad wasn't as concerned as the rest of us, he knew he could count on the folks around the country to see him through the hard times.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 2008

I just got off the phone with dad, he's rolling along nicely. He spent most of the day with friends and family. After a nice brunch everyone decorated Easter baskets with things growing in the yard and that of course led to coloring eggs. Easter has always been one of dads favorite days. As a child I remember many Easter egg hunts at grandmas house, dads mom always had a way of making family days kid friendly and forever memorable. And since dad is still, in some ways very much a child, any day he can dress up, build stuff and be in the company of friends and family is a favorite day. I know Easter may have a more significant meaning but for me, any day that brings family together for what ever reason is significant.

Utah's weight is stable and he has started a light work out routine to try and regain some strength. The daily routine that at once seemed so daunting now glides by with few problems and has in it's self become routine.

I know a lot of folks have had some difficulty getting in touch with Utah in regards to benefit concerts and the like. To help out dad and Joanna he suggested that people contact me ( Duncan) as well. I don't feel comfortable posting our phone numbers so if you have any questions or can't get a hold of dad send me an e-mail with your phone # and I will give you a call.
Thank You

Sunday, March 16, 2008

April 6, Benefit Concert


A gathering of Maine and New England Performers
in support oh Utah. form ore than forty years his
songs have been sung by thousands of people
from hobo camp - fires to the Grand Old Opry,
from the Kremlin to the Washington Monument.
Join us in support of this good man who has given so much to so many for so long.

Featuring: Gordon Bok, Micheal Cooney, Kendall & Jackie Morse, Scott Alarik, Becky & Rob McCall, Allison Dibble, Sean Mercer, Jay Peterson, And Others

Blue Hill Congregational Church - Sunday, April 6, 3 - 6 P.M. Suggested Donation $10 - Information 207-359-5559


Sunday March 16,

I just got off the phone with dad. He was getting ready to go to church.

A good portion of the concerts "Utah " has done over the years have taken place in Unitarian churches. As a child I remember going to the Unitarian Church in Salt Lake to see him perform.
Where ever the road has taken "Utah" Unitarian churches have been a big part of his life. Normally he changes the medication bag on his pump at 11:30 a.m. everyday, everyday except Sunday. On Sunday he changes the medication early so he get to church on time. The Community of the Mountains in Grass Valley has become very important in Utah's life and I know the connection he made with the congregation played an important role in his recovery and every week he looks forward to seeing the congregation and listening to Rev. Meghan speak.

Brendan, my little brother arrived in Nevada City last night and plans to spend a couple of weeks at dads house. He brought with him dads old Gibson guitar. Now days dad prefers the Gibson to his road weary Guild because the Gibson's wider neck makes it easier for him to play, so I imagine Brendan will spend a lot of time coaxing lost songs from dads long memory. Brendan also plans to undertake the enormous task of going through dads cardboard clad archive that's stored in a shed in his back yard, it's hard to believe , forty plus years of work and travel haphazardly stored in unmarked old moving boxes. It should be interesting to see what he dusts off.

Star Light on the Rails
I have started working with Ken Sanders her in Salt Lake on re publishing Utah's Song book Star light on the Rails. The book containing forty plus songs was originally published in 1973, about five years after dad fled Utah. Some of you might remember Ken from the old Cosmic Airplane days her in SLC. Ken now owns and operates a rare book store in Salt Lake City and has generously offered to underwrite the project. The book will basically remain the same with just a few updates. Profit from the book will of course go towards dads living expenses.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 13, Hello

I spoke with dad last night, he sounds good. For the first time that I can remember he is actually changing his diet to help him gain weight. The doctors have also reduced daily dosage of Lasix, that in it's self is a very good sign and it should help him gain some weight.

His days are a bit of a roller coaster ride. One minute he raring to go and the next he is taking a nap, he truly does take each day as it comes but all in all it sounds like he has adjusted well to his new routine.

He has started to do a little work from home, you know things like making phone calls to benefit producers, short phone interviews and he is committed to play his guitar every day. There were a few stretches last month in the hospital that I wasn't sure if he would make it home, so even the smallest chores and pleasures he works in to each day are huge to me.

I spoke with dad about the on-line archive that I propose to develop, he thinks it's a great idea and is very curious to see some of the things people have collected over the years. I am currently building the web page and should have it up and running by the end of April.

Here in the U.S folks had gotten use to seeing the GVGSW roll through their town every couple of years but there are many, many fellow workers and fans around the world that have never seen may father perform live. It will be very exciting to share the bulk of dads work with the world. I know that the internet may not be the most traditional format for an archive but it is effective.
Click on the play button to watch the video.

Thanks Duncan

Sunday, March 9, 2008

March 9,

I spoke with dad yesterday, he plans to send me an e-mail message to post in a day or two so stay tuned. His health is steady, his first week at home has gone by and he has settled into his new routine nicely. The trick now will be to pace himself, I'm sure now that he has become a bit stronger his temptation will be to over do it, who wouldn't.

Thanks again to everyone for the continued love and support, it has made a huge difference to all of us. The cards and letters of support dad has received from all over the world is a testament to the great work he has done over the many years.

As for myself, I am going back to work tomorrow. Don't fret, I will continue to maintain and update the blog with some frequency. There are a number of benefits and projects planned for the upcoming year so please do check in once in awhile. I am also working on a Internet based Utah Phillips archive. I know there are lot of folks out there with stuff they have collected over the years in association with my dad. My hope is that it will become a project everyone will want to participate in. Please do send me am e-mail if you have any questions.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

March 30, Benefit Concert

Benefit Concert for

Utah Phillips


A beacon of truth and light for our times,

Utah has been battling serious heart problems

and the medical bills that go with them.

Aromas Grange Hall Sunday, March 30th

Concert starting at 3:00 pm-donation$15

Food and beverages will be available, Moose Turd Pie Anyone?

Sherry Austin http://www.sherry-austin.com/index.html

Jimmy Chickenpants http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=282610848

Harmony Grits http://www.harmonygrits.com/

Rick Barnes http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=232347036

And thought provoking commentary by Wallace Baine http://www.wallacebaine.com/

Pre-concert open mike with Eric Burman and “Common Cents”,
Chris McDougal and other local favorites 9:00am-2:30pm

Sponsors, Aromas Grange, Aromas Eagles
the N.C.B.S (Northern California Bluegrass Assn.)
Contact Bill Hunter at

March 5, 2008

None of us knew what to expect when Utah returned home. I don't know about Joanna but for myself, I think dad is doing much better than I expected, which is what we all were hoping for. Normally towards evening he tends to feel a little run down and tired, I spoke with him on the phone last night and he sounds great. He's been getting out of he house some and gets a little stronger everyday.

The last procedure Joanna had to do, for the first time at home was to change the dressing around the Groshong port in dads chest. It sounds easy enough but in fact second only to changing the daily medication bag it it the most important and precise procedure she has to master. The Groshong port is surgically implanted so the area around the tubing exiting the chest must be cleaned once a week to prevent infection. Dad said it went smoothly.

It's been a week since Utah's return home and all in all I'd have to say it was a very encouraging one.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Concert Mon. March 10, 2008

DON Quixote's Music Hall

Presented With Snazzy Productions

Mon. March 10, at 7:30pm $25 adv./$25 door seated <21>

Keith Greeninger & Friends

Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum

Alisa Fineman & Kimball Hurd

plus special guests

Friends of Utah Phillips are performing a benefit for the legendary story telling genius, UTAH PHILLIPS, who has performed for us all over so many years and now needs our help.

100% of all ticket sales will go to defray medical expenses
For more info -http://www.donquixotesmusic.info/

Thank you everyone. We have had a tremendous response to this blog, the pictures and information are pouring in, so much so in fact I am working on a the project of building a web page to archive all of the pictures, concert posters and live recordings that I have amassed over the last five years of traveling with dad.
I know most the stories I tell are pre 1968 or post 2000 but as most of you know there were great expanses of time that my dad and I had very little contact, I think there was a fifteen year stretch we only spoke once. So I rely on a lot of you to help me fill in some of the blanks. That's not to say dad didn't talk about me. I have met people all over the country that I have never seen before but they know things about me I don't even know about my self.

One time dad and I traveled to Vancouver B.C for a concert. Dad and I were in the lobby milling around before the show when an older gentleman introduced himself and told me that he remembered the story of when as a child I had had the Measles . I was curious because I have never had the Measles. The story went that one day dad came home from a road trip to see spots all over my face. Worried he asked mom " Does Duncan have the Measls" no she said " He's just learning to eat with a fork".

I will be talking with dad later today and update the blog this evening.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Thanks for maintaining the blog – wanted to let you know that we will be presenting a benefit/tribute to Utah on Wednesday March 5, at Club Passim in Cambridge MA www.passimcenter.org

The evening is hosted by Scott Alarik and the performers include Geoff Bartley, Vance Gilbert, Don White, Antje Duvekot, Danielle Miraglia, Tom Bianchi, Brendan Hogan, Two for The Show and Timothy Mason.

The evening is being presented as “In the Spirit of Utah”, we are celebrating the artistry of Utah Phillips and his contributions to maintaining a place for traditional material and the valuing of the songwriter/performer as a craftsman.

For more information go to the Passim Center web site.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sunday March 2,

I just got off the phone with dad. He sounds a little tired but he is doing well. I am pleased to report that over the last few days he has gained no weight. It may sound strange but the best indicator as to dads health is his weight. The first thing he does every morning is weigh himself. If his kidneys function properly and the diuretics work like they should he won't gain any weight but if he gains a few pounds in a day or two then he is retaining water, not good. People with congestive heart failure rarely suffer from dehydration normally the opposite is true and their bodies can drown themselves in water. The fluid retention problem is the primary reason Utah spent the last month in the hospital and monitoring his weight is a very reliable way to monitor his fluid level.

Dad is resting at home alone for a couple of hours while Joanna is out walking the dog and running a few errands. I didn't think to ask him if it was the first time he has been alone and on his own since coming home, if so it must feel a little awkward, I know it does for me. He has been cleared by the doctors to be alone so that's not an issue but after almost four weeks of being hooked up to machines and nurses coming in and out of his room every hour oh the day, in an odd way he must feel a little lonely. With that being said please put down your car keys, I think his being alone for a few hours a day is healthy fand it gives him some quiet time to sort things out.

On my train ride home I was thinking about our first road trip Portland. It was about five years ago dad and I were traveling to Portland for Wintrefolk ( Winterfolk is a annual concert to benefit the Sisters Of The Road Cafe ) because of the great friends we have made over the years, ( you know who you are, to mention them all would fill pages ) Portland quickly became a yearly stop that we both look forward to the minute we drive out of town.

We got into town as we usually do, a few days early so we went down to the Red and Black for lunch. During lunch dad told me a few stories about a tramp he used to ride the trains with. His moniker is Portland Gray. Dad had heard Gray was now living in Portland and he planned to ask the the folks at the union hall next door, where he was scheduled to deliver a speech after lunch, if anybody knew what had happened to his old tramping friend.

Well after dads thirty minute oration, and while everybody sat shell shocked on the edge their chairs he asked the silent audience " Does anybody know what became of Portland Gray". A voice sitting not twenty feet from dad pipped up " Yeah I know what happened to him, it's me, I'm sitting right here". While everyone burst into laughter dad went over and gave his old friend a hug. It was quite amazing.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March 1, U. Utah Cyborg and the Blog

Just before I left for home I gave dad a very basic tutorial on how to go through the blog and read the comments. As a result of his being home more often and for longer periods of time he plans on keeping up with the blog, so dad wanted me to encourage everyone to keep reading and posting on the blog and sending pictures and the like to the e-mail address. In addition to speaking with him on the phone dad will have Joanna send me - e-mail messages to post for him. If any of you have any questions please feel free to post them. Now that dad is plugged into the world via the internet I think it will be a good way to make sure everybody recieves accurate and timely information on dads ongoing health condition. I do read all of the e-mails and I did read them to dad but now that I am home the blog will be the best way for folks to communicate with Utah, I don't see him reading e-mails in addition to the blog. The fact that he will sit in front of the computer at all is big news.
Thank You All


A benefit concert for Utah Phillips will take place at the
Congregational Church in Blue Hill , Maine at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 6, 2008
featuring a host of Maine and New England artists including
Maine IWW's and Maine Labor Council
WERU Radio Programmers

For more information call 207-359-5559