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Vladdy Iskhakov | Joe Hill's Last Will

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Joe Hill's Last Will

by Vladdy Iskhakov

Curtis Bryant composes music in virtually all styles including chamber music, choral, orchestral, opera, folk and pop, as well as music for broadcast and digital media.
Genre: Folk: Appalachian Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Joe Hill's Last Will
2:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
JOE HILL'S LAST WILL (music by Curtis Bryant, words by Joe Hill)

On November 19, 1915 IWW union activist, poet and songwriter Joe Hill was executed by a Utah firing squad, framed by the industrialists and their political allies for a murder he did not commit. Even after appeals for a new trial from president Woodrow Wilson and scores of other luminaries the politically corrupt governor William Spry refused to grant clemency, preferring to make an example of Hill in his campaign to crush the union and the free speech movement in the state. The night before his execution Hill scribbled down the words "My Last Will" on a scrap of paper:

My will is easy to decide,
For there is nothing to divide.
My kin don't need to fuss and moan,
"Moss does not cling to a rolling stone."

My body? Oh, if I could choose
I would to ashes it reduce,
And let the merry breezes blow,
My dust to where some flowers grow.

Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my Last and Final Will.
Good Luck to All of you,
Joe Hill

Bryant's is not the first musical setting of Hill's last poem, but hopefully a fitting memorial to the union bard in the days approaching the 100th anniversary of this atrocious miscarriage of justice by the state of Utah. Hill let it be known that he didn't want to "be found dead in Utah," and in keeping with his wishes his ashes were scattered to the "merry breezes" by IWW delegates over five continents including 47 of the lower 48 states – all but the state of Utah.

Atlanta composer, Curtis Bryant, has composed music in virtually all media from chamber music to choral, orchestral and operatic. His music has been described as “...immediately attractive and accessible, with an emphasis on beauty of sound, simplicity of means, and expression of feeling.” (Atlanta Journal and Constitution). Bryant's work for television has led him to explore popular music as well, ranging in style from jazz to gospel and rock, as well as many folk and ethnic styles. But, if diversity has been a necessity at times, it has not prevented Bryant from developing his own distinctive voice as a composer of serious concert music. Bryant’s music is solidly tonal in style, often employing modal harmonies which display influences from blues and jazz. His use of form is strongly founded in Classical tradition, which brings about a synthesis of European structures with uniquely American colors. Bryant has a particularly strong sense of melody, which is at the heart of all his music. His sense of melodic line has made his music especially well suited to the voice, but he is equally at home with instrumental music. Bryant's work for broadcast media has garnered seven Emmy Award nominations from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Performing artist Vladdy Iskhakov moved to the USA from Samarkand, Uzbekistan at the age of nine. He is a founding member of the band The Sixxis. Here he performs vocals, guitar and violin in his studio in the Atlanta area. Iskhakov is a songwriter and composer in his own right and has collaborated with Bryant recently on the film project "Edgar Allen Poe's The Gold Bug."

Recording engineer, ProTools, and added percussion for the track by John Jaret



to write a review

World Wide Poet

A Musical and Historical Discovery
Until a friend recommended that I download this song, I had no idea that Joe Hill (aka Joel Emmanuel Hägglund and Joseph Hillström) was a Swedish immigrant to the USA, who had made history in more than one way. Apparently, he was talented and infamous, and many believed he did not deserve the latter label. To them, only a cruel twist of fate had landed him in the clutches of the judicial system and a date with his executioners.
Before his demise, Joe Hill was a musician who used his talents to benefit the trade union movement in the early 20th century, and his story has inspired musicians ever since.
A newly released, musical version of "Joe Hill's Last Will", written by Curtis Bryant, Jr., and sung beautifully and soulfully by Vladdy Iskahov, re-energises the tragic story. I loved the musical arrangement! It is good enough to stand on its own as an instrumental.