Date of death: 23-05-2008
This is a page for family and friends to gather, share their memories,and celebrate the life of legendary Utah Phillips. Please feel free to celebrate ...
This is a page for family and friends to gather, share their memories,and celebrate the life of legendary Utah Phillips. Please feel free to celebrate his life with us by leaving your memories and photos.
Tribute created by:
I moved to Grass Valley in 1996. Never heard of Utah before then. Some friends i made after being here awhile told me about him and then I met Utah in town. I think I might have rubbed him the wrong way a bit but I found him to be approachable, friendly, a wealth of knowledge, a Damn good story teller and I saw him perform every chance I could. I grew to really love the guy and thought he was a hell of a guy.Wish I could known the man better. If there are trains in heaven, Utah is riding in style.....................
I never had the opportunity to meet Utah, having only encountered his wisdom a few years before he stepped out. His words on the Ani album were my introduction to one of the greatest minds I have ever found. His past, in the military, echo my own path four decades later. His thoughts and opinions and above all, his stories will continue to impact fortunate souls for many, many, years to come. Some have said they never met someone they couldn't love. I've never loved someone I couldn't meet, until now. Fly on, my friend, and wish us luck.
I was introduced to Utah Phillips more than eleven years ago. The woman I was dating was an Ani di Franco fan. I had never heard of either.
It was sometime around Christmas and all the anxiety in the world was forcing itself upon me. We were on our way to her mothers house when she switched the CD from one Ani to another. I had grown appreciative of Ani's music over the preceeding weeks. She has one those voices that has the to ressurect the dead and hibernating goose bumps in me. What I heard first was not Ms. DiFranco but a gruff old man who reminded me a bit of Geroge Carlin. In fact at first I mistook the voice and vocally misidentified it.
As I listened I found myself hearing each and every word. Unlike my normal listening habits where the melody and the beat of the music was all my mind processed. I felt as though Utah was speaking to me. The more I listened the more I was certain that he was.
That relationship died. Its one of my largest regrets in life. Not the end of the relationship but how I allowed it to end. The only positive I remember of my time with Jennifer is listening to Utah Phillips tell the greatest stories I've ever heard.
When my relationship ended with Jennifer I let Utah go too. It wasnt something I planned or even thought about. It just happpened. I left alot of other mutual friends too.
I was tooling around on Myspace today, just looking for old friends. Oddly Jennifer's name came to mind. Its the first time in many, many years. As soon as I thought of her I remembered Utah and quickly forgot Jennifer again.
My first search for Utah broke my heart. The first and most recent hit was a death announcement.... I've spent the last 4 hours watching videos of him on YouTube wishing I didn't let him go without a fight.
Utah Phillips taught me so very much through his stories. Most importantly how not to be an indifferent pedistrian in life.
If his Friends and Family should happen to see this message, please know that my heart aches for your loss.
<a href="http:// myspace.com/shakesxxix">Joseph Kelly</a>
During a time of personal and public trouble here in New Mexico--blind authorities shutting down local high school poetry team for being not sufficiently war like--I got a phone call from Utah Phillips wanting to interview me. I was shocked and pleased and overjoyed to meet the man I have admired for my whole adult life, and we interviewed each other. That was the start of an all too brief few years of friendship and infrequent contacts, but I treasure every phone call and letter as I do all Utah's stories, songs, poems and smiles. He was a man of wisdom, kindness, generosity and strength. What better memory can there be in this world?
We will hold a tribute to Utah here in Santa Fe NM on July 14 and I hope all his friends in the southwest will come join with us. email@example.com Bill Nevins Albuquerque NM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Bill 505 264 6979 firstname.lastname@example.org
Legendary New Mexico Songwriter Kell Robertson Headlines Tribute to Utah Phillips
Santa Fe–Legendary 78-old New Mexico “beat” poet-songwriter Kell Robertson will make a rare public appearance to headline A Tribute to Utah Phillips concert at Santa Fe Brewing Company, Monday, July 14, 2008, starting at 7 pm. Joining Kell onstage to honor their mutual friend and inspiration, the late bard Utah Phillips, will be Joe West, Kendall McCook, Mitch Rayes, Richard Malcolm (of Burning Moonlight) and White Buffalo Music Presents Georgie Angel. Additional guests and friends of both Kell and Utah are expected to show up and sit in. Bill Nevins, contributing editor of Albuquerque ARTS monthly, will MC the evening. Admission is only $5 at the door, and fine food and beverages will be available. www.santafebrewing.com
This will be a rousing evening of music, stories, poetry and gentle rebellion, as befits the memory of the late Utah Phillips, the widely beloved songsmith, union advocate and raconteur who collaborated with Ani DiFranco on Grammy-nominated albums.
Kell Robertson, a long time friend and comrade-in-song of Utah Phillips, is himself an American treasure who has lived quietly in the Santa Fe area for the past ten years. He has performed his music and poetry from San Francisco to New York City .. For several years he tended bar and performed at the Thunderbird in Placitas, where he played and sang with the likes of Lightnin' Hopkins and hosted poetry and sang at Silva's Saloon in Bernalillo.
Kell lived in San Francisco for many years in the late 50s and early 60s, where he made his living singing at noted venues such as Vesuvio's and the Coffee Gallery, favorite hang outs for Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Diane di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and other Beat writers of the fabled North Beach scene. Kell’s songs, recorded on the albums Cool & Dark Inside and When You Come Down Off the Mountain, are finely crafted and heartfelt music of the American West. Although mostly retired from performing, Kell composes poetry and still writes and plays his guitar every night on the secluded farm where he lives near Cerillos. A new collection of poetry is expected later this year from Pathwise Press www.pathwisepress.com/Bear_Crossing.htm
The musicians joining and accompanying Kell Robertson onstage in tribute to Utah Phillips are all veteran performers in the Americana , blues and folk genres, well known to New Mexico audiences. Santa Fe ’s Joe West, known for his renditions of Utah Phillips songs, has been praised by the national magazine Dirty Linen for his edgy humor and warm stage presence, in the Santa Fe All Stars and other bands. Kendall McCook, like Utah himself, is a true “voice of the great Southwest” and a master story teller. Mitch Rayes is a poet and songwriter from Albuquerque who has travelled manys the hard winding road. Richard Malcolm, also from Burque, is a practitioner of the deep blues. And Georgie Angel is a Pecos-Santa Fe “outlaw” music legend himself.
It is a rare treat to have these desperados on a stage together for an evening of song-sharing in tribute to Utah Phillips and the wild spirit of what has been called “that old weird America”—weird and beautiful, that is.For more information, contact Bill Nevins at email@example.com
Or phone (505) 264 6979. 
I heard the news on Saturday while listening to my local independent radio station. I already miss this man who I only met once, at a concert, so it really wasn't a true "meeting". I mentioned some of his old hangouts out in Montana that I am very familiar with, being from Missoula. He laughted and mentioned "the OX" and it's brains-n-eggs.
I discovered Utah during a fund raiser at the Union Hall there in Missoula about 15 years ago, and was hooked. At first I enjoyed his stories of the life that is disappearing so rapidly, then I really started to listen and learn. In an age and at an age, mine, it is hard to see heroes. I can say unashamed that he is one of mine.
Rest well sir!
-Lee Clapp, Greensburg, PA
I met Bruce in 1974 in Bolinas California, when Rosalie Sorrels lived there and kept an open-house for musicians, poets and others of her vast collection of friends, of which I was proud to count myself as one.
Together we traveled to concerts from San Francisco to Tomales Bay, heard stories of hard times, good times and abiding friendship. As a fellow Wobbly, I found it easy to connect with Bruce and his tales of union organizing and more.
Years later I came across him in Nevada City where he hustled my husband and I out of the music store we were browsing in to give us each a small button with the word "spy" in white letters on a black background.
"Now we are all spies in the eyes of Homeland Security." he said, a characteristic gleam in his eyes. We immedately put on our spy buttons and promised to keep in touch.
Of course we didn't. More fools us.
Miss you Bruce!
I burst into tears as I unsuspectingly read of Utah's death. I feel like I've lost an old friend. Impossible to count how many times I experienced him in the 30-something years since I discovered him and his unique (that word doesn't do him justice) brand of storytelling and singing. I saw him everywhere I lived, Bay Area-California, Denver, CO and Portland, ME. I am so grateful that he recorded for posterity his stories and songs. I shall miss him more than I can say.
Trudy B. Brown