Right now isn’t exactly the heydey of the topical folk song, a genre that’s seemed passé since the ’60s.
But New York’s George Mann is a diehard, evoking that old tradition of using songs, accompanied by an acoustic guitar, to convey messages about social justice and political subjects.
Mann, who’s also a labor-union organizer and producer of the anti-Bush Hail to the Thief! compilation series, will be in Cleveland from 3-5 p.m. Sunday to play at P.J. McIntyre’s Irish Pub for a gig sponsored by Cleveland Jobs With Justice (clevelandjwj.org). Suggested donation: $5-$10.
Mann’s latest project is a compilation, Until You Come Home: Songs for Veterans and Their Kin, a collection of songs written and performed by folk stalwarts like Holly Near, John Gorka, Utah Phillips and Tom Paxton.
Inspired by the work of Veterans for Peace, it emphasizes the ill effects of war especially on soldiers and their families.
One of the disc’s most poignant songs is “Endless War,” written by Mann’s former musical partner Julius Margolin, which reflects on how the young suffer for our country’s failure to learn from history.
Longtime labor activist and songwriter Margolin died during the making of the album last August, at the age of 93.
Mann’s new album, Songs for Jules and Bruce, comes out this month. —Anastasia Pantsios