WHO: Dropkick Murphys
WHEN: Friday, November 18 at 7:15 pm
WHERE: The Factory at The District
17105 N Outer 40 Road, Chesterfield, MO
TICKETS: On sale now HERE
Celtic Punk veterans Dropkick Murphys are renowned for their heavy-hitting raucous style performances. That is why this tour is so special. The band is on the road performing acoustic sets for their latest album, the Woody Guthrie inspired This Machine Still Kills Fascists, and they will be stopping by The Factory at The District on Friday, November 18.
If you are a DKM fan this is certainly not a show to be missed. The new album is out now. The video for “Two 6’s Upside Down” finds Dropkick Murphys performing the song while gathered around the Woody Guthrie statue in Woody’s native Okemah, OK, interspersed with footage of the band debuting the song before enthusiastic European festival crowds this summer. Check out the video for “Two 6’s Upside Down”:
Dropkick Murphys founder Ken Casey explained, “The project has been a long time in the making. Nora Guthrie thought her father would’ve got a kick out of us, would’ve liked us, that we were somewhat kindred spirits so to speak, which to us was a huge honor. ”In support of this very special and powerful acoustic album, the band will launch their first-ever reserved seating theater tour. Jaime Wyatt will be the main support on the tour–as well as joining DKM on stage for the duet “Never Git Drunk No More”–and Jesse Ahern will open the shows.
The idea for this album has been percolating between Woody’s daughter Nora Guthrie and the band for more than a decade, with Nora curating a collection of her father’s never-published lyrics for the band over the years. The challenge was always finding the right time to pull it together. When the band’s co-lead vocalist, Al Barr, was sidelined in the latter half of 2021 – taking a leave of absence from the band to care for his ailing mother – Dropkick Murphys were apprehensive about making a normal DKM album. The perfect time to take on the Woody project had presented itself, and the band leapt at the chance to bring more of Woody’s timeless lyrics to life with a Dropkick Murphys musical twist. The end result is This Machine Still Kills Fascists – the true fruition of like-minded rebellious artists collaborating – albeit nearly a century apart.
Nora Guthrie explained, “I collected lyrics on all kinds of topics…lyrics that seemed to be needed to be said – or screamed – today. Ken Casey is a master at understanding Woody’s lyrics, which can be complicated, long, deadly serious, or totally ridiculous. DKM is capable of delivering them all.”
These Woody Guthrie lyrics have been sitting for well over half a century. Through every iteration of technology, every iteration of modern convenience, through life and death and war and so-called world peace. All those global changes have happened, sure, but, inexplicably, Woody’s words describe the here and now in our communities – and in our world – better than anybody who is currently standing here, breathing, typing into their high-tech device. This man sat in a chair, tapped things out on a typewriter, or wrote things out by hand. He wrote because, as we noted earlier, “A folk song is what’s wrong and how to fix it.” The man took responsibility for coming up with a solution as much as he did identifying the problem.
In “Dig A Hole” – which features Dropkick Murphys’ full band performance wrapped around Woody’s rare Smithsonian Folkways recording – Woody’s words bring the cold, hard reality of war to us, as the chorus describes digging a hole “in the cold, cold ground” to bury enemy Nazi soldiers during World War II.
What makes the song extra special is that not only do the Dropkicks join Woody on an existing recording, with DKM lead singer Ken Casey essentially dueting with Woody, but there is also a special appearance by Woody’s grandson, Cole Quest, who contributed Dobro guitar and backing vocals to “Dig A Hole.”
It was actually a Dropkick Murpys poster on a teenage Cole’s bedroom wall nearly 20 years ago that first put the band on Nora Guthrie’s radar. So everything comes full circle with this song.
In “Never Git Drunk No More,” Woody brings us into the home of a dysfunctional husband and wife who are in the grip of “King Alcohol.” The song is a duet between Casey and alt country artist Nikki Lane.
“The Last One” features guest vocals from country roots group Turnpike Troubadours’ Evan Felker, who hails from Woody’s hometown of Okemah. As Casey and Felker trade lines, it’s clear that we’re witnessing two of the most distinctly different accents you can find in music working seamlessly together. The song is rounded out with the extra special treat of Woody’s grandson Cole Quest playing some damn fine Dobro guitar.
“Ten Times More” was written, arranged and recorded on the spot. That’s right: the band used the original demo take for the album. Skeptics with discerning ears can make out Casey yelling out the arrangement in the background as the band stomps and claps through the song for the first (and only) time in the studio. Extra stomp tracks, harmonica and backing vocals were added in Tulsa – but the drums, majority of the stomping, shaker, lead and backup vocals were a one and done. The band loved the organic feel they captured on that take and didn’t want to mess with it.
Dom Flemons, founding member of Carolina Chocolate Drops, guests on harp on “The Last One,” “Ten Times More” and “All You Fonies.”
Woody’s words come from a time when “going to work” was something physical and dangerous. A time when conventional warfare meant that wars were long and bloody, brutally frigid in winter, gruesomely hot in the summers. These words came at a time when the American union movement was ascendant and palpable, when the struggle was not only about wresting power away from the crush of capitalism, but about reclaiming dignity for the working man.
Woody Guthrie’s lyrics were never meant for mass broadcast on radio waves. Woody was a man who wrote songs with the intention of showing up to play them in places where his words and simple chords would simultaneously get people’s blood up and assure those same people that their plight was acknowledged – that they were not alone. Woody Guthrie’s mere presence at a labor rally or social justice gathering was pure empathy and compassion.
Dropkick Murphys’ own catalog is filled with anthems that celebrate the resilience of heroes and antiheroes alike. Songs of mourning, and songs that ease that burden through the collective sharing of loss. Songs that walk that path of righteous indignation and determined defiance that Woody trod over more than half a century ago. On This Machine Still Kills Fascists, they do that legacy proud.
Nora Guthrie summarizes, “Today, things need to be said front and center, loud and clear. No time for subtleties, no time for whispered words or guarded statements. When you need a megaphone to say what you mean, and mean what you say, call Dropkick Murphys. I did…”