IAM Tennessee Local 735 member Cody Wilder is credited for helping spark the idea of the IAM’s unioNation Band. The more than two-dozen dedicated IAM members recorded their first album two years later.
The IAM’s unioNation is “rocking solidarity music that comes around only once or twice in a lifetime,” says a recent review by Saul Schniderman, a labor music enthusiast and co-founder of the Labor Heritage Foundation.
The band and its self-titled CD were recently featured in Schniderman’s Friday Labor Folklore.
“All of the 25 songs on the unioNation double CD – including ‘Long Road,’ ‘A Woman’s Place,’ ‘Working Man’s Pride,’ ‘Bone Tired,’ and ‘Rock and a Hard Place’ – are artistically composed and professionally backed by talented musicians who work by day and play by night,” wrote Schniderman. “This is a collection of voices which represent the values, the spirit, and the caring-for-each-other attitude of the everyday heroes and heroines who are America’s working class. Bruce Springsteen would bless this project and the spirit of Pete Seeger – who died last January – is surely smiling somewhere.”
In the article, Schniderman talked with IAM Education Representative Henry Bagwell about the idea for the band, which Bagwell says started with a song written and performed by IAM Tennessee Local 735 member Cody Wilder while taking a class at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Center in 2011.
“Cody’s song knocked me out,” said Bagwell, “and I began wondering how music can break down barriers. I also wondered about whether or not there were other union members who might want to organize, inspire and motivate others through their music.”
“That’s when the magic happened,” wrote Schniderman. “Twenty-three musicians, poets, and songwriters – many of whom had never met each other or played together before – came together to crank out a two-hour concert which tore the roof off of the place and convinced the Machinists of the power of song.”
Give the gift of unioNation this holiday season! Purchase the CD or digitally download it for $20 at www.unionation.com.
The album can also be ordered by check ($20 plus $2.69 postage, made payable to the “IAMAW”) and mailed to: William W. Winpisinger Center, Attn: unioNation CD, 24494 Placid Harbor Way, Hollywood, MD 20636.
For bulk orders, call 301-373-3300 ext. 115.