The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere

Utah Phillips & Ani DiFranco

You’re thinking, “Ani D. and Utah Phillips collaborating together? Nice.” But hold on, this isn’t the folkie duet you might expect. Rather, this disc is beautiful for its unique expression of simplicity. This is a collection of Phillips’ spoken word pieces—“Only stories, rants and recitations.” DiFranco handpicked and “de-noised” Phillips’ recordings and then backed it all up with rhythm tracks. Her beats add a sense of urgency and depth to Phillips’ words. Both Phillips and DiFranco are known for their overtly political songwriting—they’re folk singers, after all. No surprise then, that there is a message to the CD. These are stories intended to wake us up. In “Anarchy,” Phillips says, “I learned in Korea that I would never again, in my life, abdicate to somebody else my right and my ability to decide who the enemy is.” His endearing voice telling stories to DiFranco’s beats is definitely an acquired taste—leaving a bittersweet flavor of revolution that lingers on your tongue.