BUTTE - Solidarity forever … does that get your blood pumping? Well, it should. A project is putting together local musicians and songwriters to celebrate Butte’s labor history.
“(Singing) Oooh, you always will be slaves unless you organize … Well, it has three things that I love, which is, Butte, music and history,” said Butte songwriter Sean Eamon.
These three things are part of an art project called New Songs for the Butte Mining Camp. Funded through the National Endowment for the Arts, the program pays musicians to compose and perform old labor songs.
“As far as we know, nobody recorded those songs or probably ever sang them and so I got this idea that it would be fun to commission Montana musicians to look at Butte’s old mining and labor songs and reinvent them,” said event organizer Cari Coe.
Ten musicians are expected to play shows at the historic Clark Chateau throughout the summer.
Butte songwriter Sean Eamon gave his performance last month.
“It was like a dream playing in an old Butte room like that with the room full of people. There’s nothing better than that, it’s probably how it used to be years ago,” said Eamon.
Clark Grant will be the next performer in July and wrote his own song about the loss of Butte’s historic buildings.
“Less about joining a union and solidarity, my song is just more about a commentary on Butte’s decline since the peak of everything in 1917,” said Grant.
Organizers believe the songs will speak to Butte people, especially coming out of the long pandemic.
Artists will also give a free talk the day before their shows at noon at the Butte Public Archives. People can learn more about the event at the Clark Chateau website.