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Utah Phillips Biography:
After his short tenure with the US Army (about three years), Phillips returned to the states and teamed up with Ammon Hennacy (of the Catholic Worker Movement) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Together, Phillips and Henacy set up the Joe Hill House - a mission hospitality house.
In 1968, he unsuccesfully ran for the United States Senate as a member of the Utah State Peace and Freedom Party. In an attempt to raise money for his next campaign, he headed to New York to try to sell some of his original songs. There he met up with folksinger and feminist activist Rosalie Sorrels, who convinced him to start touring the coffeehouse circuit with his songs and stories.
A card-carrying member of the Industrial Workers of the World (a.k.a. IWW, a.k.a. "the wobblies"), Phillips is also a major advocate for labor unions. Many of his original songs tell stories of labor struggles and workers rights, and he continues to sing the songs of the old wobblies that were penned by folks like Joe Hill.
He worked with Rosalie Sorrels and Ani DiFranco, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for his collaborations with DiFranco. In 1997, he was recognized by the North American Folk Alliance for a lifetime achievement award. On May 23, 2008, Utah Phillips died from complications associated with heart disease.