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Joe Jencks | The Forgotten

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Folk: Singer/Songwriter Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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The Forgotten

by Joe Jencks

THE FORGOTTEN: This collection of songs celebrates those who still work for a just world in the face of racial inequity and mass violence. It speaks of courage, struggle, loss, and joyful triumph.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Why Are the Guns Still Firing
3:27 $0.99
2. Shuttle & Loom
3:33 $0.99
3. Morning Star
4:01 $0.99
4. I’m a Stranger in This Land
3:04 $0.99
5. I Have Seen Freedom Being Born
3:13 $0.99
6. Third Shift
2:45 $0.99
7. Running Down the Road
2:45 $0.99
8. The Old Labor Hall
4:10 $0.99
9. Houdaille
5:07 $0.99
10. Union Miner
2:26 $0.99
11. Who Will Speak for Me
4:25 $0.99
12. What Did You Learn
2:34 $0.99
13. I Will Shout Youngstown
1:50 $0.99
14. You Are the “U” in Union
3:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
From The Artist: Joe Jencks ~ Chicago, IL
It is an honor to be entrusted with the work and legacy of a colleague and friend. Ever more so in this case as Si Kahn is not only a great songwriter but has spent a lifetime as an organizer - working tirelessly on behalf of civil rights, workers rights, social justice, and the environment. When Si first approached me with a trove of his previously unrecorded songs, I was amazed to learn that he had so many compositions that had never been released to the world. In January of 2017 it became clear that this project needed to be the next one up in my rotation as a recording artist.

I immediately called one of my favorite musicians, famed Canadian producer Ken Whiteley. I explained the nature of the project and asked Ken if he would produce the record for me, and help me bring these Forgotten songs to life. Much to my delight Ken said yes! And I began traveling to Toronto regularly to work on making this recording. It is a genuine work of collaboration, very much in the spirit of the songs themselves. Si Kahn wrote some of these pieces as much as 35 years ago. And yet they are all salient and germane to the present moment. It was a joy to work with Ken and all of the Canadian musicians on this project. And I am equally grateful to Si for graciously allowing me to play with his ideas and bring them to life in this album.

From The Composer: Si Kahn ~ Charlotte, NC
Several years ago I gave my friend Joe Jencks some 70 of my original songs that I’d never recorded or even performed in public, something I had never done before with any artist. I also gave him absolute artistic freedom and creative control to make an album from his choice of those songs. As high as my expectations were, Joe has far exceeded them. With his musical creativity, instrumental expertise and vocal brilliance, he’s brought wonderful depth, breadth and beauty to my songs. Because Joe has written so many songs himself that will live and last, and which lay out a positive, progressive vision of the world we dream of and work for, his decision to make this powerful, beautiful album of my songs is both remarkable and deeply moving to me. What artist, what person can ask for more?

From The Producer: Ken Whiteley ~ Toronto, ON
The first time I heard Joe Jencks sing, I thought, here is man gifted with a truly great voice. What has been especially rewarding is watching his growth into the mature artist that he now is. He’s absolutely solid rhythmically, full of strong arrangement ideas and possesses a fabulous ear. But it is in how he marshals all his many skills to get to the heart of the material so we really understand and feel the meaning of these songs that really shines. And these songs truly are “treasures”. Si Kahn is the master of using folk forms to tell so many stories that we all need to hear. I think this recording is a profound contribution to the contemporary folk cannon!

Produced by Ken Whiteley
Engineered by Nicholas Tjelios
Arranged by Joe Jencks & Ken Whitely
Recorded & Mixed at Casa Wroxton Studio, Toronto, ON
Original Cover Art: Ricardo Levins Morales (RLM Arts)
Graphic Design: Tony Wedick
Publicity & Media Relations: Anna Ratliff
Duplication: Andrew Ratshin, NW Disks

Joe Jencks: Lead & Harmony Vocals, Guitar, Bouzouki
Cindy Church: Harmony Vocals (Tracks 2,4,6,12)
Gary Craig: Drums & Percussion
Andrew Downing: Cello
Frank Evans: Banjo
Amoy Levy: Harmony Vocals (Tracks 1,3,5,7,11)
Ciceal Levy: Harmony Vocals (Tracks 1,3,5,7,11)
John Showman: Violin
Ben Whiteley: Upright Bass
Ken Whiteley: Mandolin, Piano, Hammond Organ, Vibraphone, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Accordion, Vocals
Choir: Frank Evans, Eve Goldberg, Joe Jencks, Jane Lewis, Ken Whitely, Len Udow


“Joe Jencks is the ideal troubadour for populist songwriter Si Kahn, who’s walked a mile in the shoes of all his songs, as a grassroots organizer working with those Woody Guthrie called “hard-hit people.” Kahn turns their real lives into song, their troubles and dreams, hopes and fears. Jencks brings a similar honesty to his suede tenor, with the exquisite control of a natural-born storyteller. Kahn made these urgent songs for our times; Jencks has made them beautiful music.”
~ Scott Alarik, Music Journalist, DJ - WUMB, Author of Revival: A Folk Music Novel, Cambridge, MA

“Joe Jencks’ new CD - The Forgotten, is a treasure of previously unfinished and unrecorded songs by master word-crafter, Si Kahn. Sung by one of the best voices in the folk world, and encompassing civil rights, immigration, gun violence, and of course labor, this recording is a pot of gold!” ~ Sonny Ochs - Educator, Concert Producer & DJ - WIOX, Middleburgh, NY

"The Forgotten - is a wonderful collection of some of Si Kahn's best unrecorded compositions, lovingly re-imagined by Joe Jencks with his remarkable voice and beautifully produced by Ken Whiteley. I can't stop listening!”
~ Paul Mills, Producer & Musician, London, ON

“Showing once again why he is recognized as one of the leading champions of contemporary folk music, Joe Jencks presents us with collection of songs that feed our hearts and souls with comfort and inspiration. Filled with passion and conviction, The Forgotten offers a slice of humanity through the words of Si Kahn that gives us hope in our daily struggles and celebrates the victories in our shared experiences.” ~ Ron Olesko, Concert Producer & DJ - WFDU, Teaneck, NJ

“All his life, Si Kahn has taught us the ideals of activism, community building and overcoming adversity. Now Joe Jencks brings 14 rediscovered songs to their fullest power by blending his passionate voice and beautiful arrangements with Si's words. This music compels us to remember our past struggles, confront our current challenges and join the chorus to work together for a better future.” ~ Laurie DesJardin, DJ - KVMR – Nevada City, CA

“I love this recording! It's inspirational in a time when we need inspiration. Joe Jencks has added a masterful voice and a deft touch to Si Kahn's previously unrecorded library.” ~ Bob Weiser, Organizer & DJ - WOMR, Provincetown, MA

"Once again, Joe Jencks has hit a home run. He's taken unknown songs of Si Kahn and woven them into masterpieces with his extraordinary voice and arrangements. Unlike the CD's title, these songs will not be forgotten."
~ Wanda Fischer, Author & DJ - WAMC Albany, NY

"I am still reeling with hope after listening to Joe Jencks’ new CD - The Forgotten. This is a timeless collection of socially conscious songs. I will find room for every track on my radio show."
~ Matt Watroba, Musician & DJ - WKAR, East Lansing, MI

The Songs

1. Why Are The Guns Still Firing (3:27) Written in the wake of the 2015 Charleston, South Carolina Church Massacre, this song remains sadly relevant and is a powerful and driving anthem for our times.

2. Shuttle And Loom (3:33) A tribute to the many women in the north and south who spent their lives doing the only work available to them in textile mills, cotton mills, and at weaving machines.

3. Morning Star (4:01) Capturing the uncertainty of life in the working towns throughout Appalachia where the primary industries have faded, this song offers pensive hope in the dawn.

4. Stranger In This Land (3:04) A song about the immigration of people escaping historic persecution in Eastern Europe, it also asks questions about modern immigration and compassion.

5. I Have Seen Freedom Being Born (3:13) A song about the Civil Rights Movement, reflecting the first hand experience of those who were and are a part of the struggle to ensure equality and dignity for all people.

6. Third Shift 2:45 A surprising love song wherein the styles of Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen are equally invoked to paint a vivid scene of romance and longing in a factory town.

7. Running Down The Road (2:45) Blending seamlessly into the spirit of the Civil Rights anthems, this driving song invites us to be in community on the long journey toward freedom and justice.

8. The Old Labor Hall (4:10) An homage to the great working class heroes and heroines of North America, this narrative is told through the lens of actual events at the Old Labor Hall in Barre, VT.

9. Houdaille (5:07) Telling the story of a worker-led protest at an automotive plant on Ontario, Canada, this up-tempo ballad is filled with driving instrumentals and hope for the worker.

10. Union Miner (2:26) A mountain-music influenced song about life in a mining town in Harlan County, Kentucky and the need to share common purpose in pursuit of workplace dignity.

11. Who Will Speak For Me (4:25) Capturing the ghost-town feel of so many former industrial hubs, this beautiful narrative depicts what was, and what can be if we continue to stand together.

12. What Did You Learn (2:34) A vivid musical journey about education, diversity, and the reasons why teaching People’s History matters in the larger context of schools and community.

13. I Will Shout Youngstown (1:50) The forgotten streets, shops, churches and empty schoolyards that fill the inner core of the industrial heartland are given a defiant eulogy in this gentle, beautiful song.

14. You Are The "U" In Union (3:16) In the spirit of the labor songs of yore, this rousing capstone to The Forgotten, invites all of us, from every walk of life, to remain in solidarity with one another.



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