This is no time for complacency---this is time for The Flames of Discontent!” - Greg Gattine, The Morning Show

WDST-FM (Radio Woodstock)

POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL 4/20/08: Rosendale Hosts Benefit for Utah Phillips: Folk music fans to hold benefit for ailing singer" BY JOHN W. BARRY • POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL • APRIL 20, 2008 Movie buffs have Indiana Jones. And folk music enthusiasts, political activists and supporters of organized labor have Utah Phillips. Those interested in politics, folk music and labor issues are likely to show up in force today for a benefit concert aimed at helping Phillips, who is ill. Scheduled to perform are Pete Seeger, Dar Williams, the Flames of Discontent, Redwood Moose, Sarah Underhill with the High Meadow Larks, Jude Roberts and Lily McCabe, and Norm Wennet. This concert was organized by Underhill, Mark Morganstern, co-owner of the Rosendale Cafe, Moose Dmoch of Redwood Moose and John Pietaro of the Flames of Discontent. Morganstern had originally planned to host the event at his restaurant. But an overwhelming response - Morganstern received inquiring phone calls from as far away as South Carolina - prompted a move to the Rosendale Recreation Center on Route 32. I would rather not turn anyone away," Morganstern said. Phillips' son, Duncan, said the family is "overwhelmed" by the response. Benefit concerts have been staged across the country. I really appreciate the people out there doing this," Duncan Phillips said of the greater Rosendale community, which Utah Phillips has visited in past years. "It's kind of overwhelming." Phillips, 73, is a Grammy nominee, longtime political activist, folk singer and supporter of organized labor. He is an old friend of Seeger's and has performed at the annual Clearwater fest, which is run by the Poughkeepsie-based environmental organization Seeger founded to help clean up the Hudson River. Phillips has also released two CDs with alternative folk-rocker Ani DiFranco, "The Past Didn't Go Anywhere" and "Fellow Workers." Phillips is also a longtime member of the International Workers of the World, or IWW, a labor union; and he helped launch the Traveling Musicians Union. Phillips has toured around the country as a performer for decades but recently had to quit the road because of a respiratory condition and heart irregularities. He is also experiencing other medical issues, according to Duncan Phillips. Utah is my role model," said Dmoch, Rosendale resident, member of Redwood Moose and also a member of the IWW. "He's a character. He's a preacher. He tells stories." And, Dmoch added, "… he's a good man who needs help." John Pietaro of Beacon also combines his activism in labor issues with his love of music. Pietaro, a professional labor organizer and member of the Flames of Discontent, is also a member of the IWW. Utah Phillips, for anybody who is socially conscious," Pietaro said, "represents the freest end of the labor movement …” - John Barry

-Poughkeepsie Journal: on Utah Phillips Benefit

Punk-folking around, the Flames of Discontent bring Wobblyism into our time and rock the IWW standards. John Pietaro is a Joe Hill for the new century.” - Paul Buhle, noted Labor historian/author
The Flames of Discontent light up a big candle of empowerment and support for working people everywhere while incinerating the greedy, ruthless villains who seek to exploit others...all that and they play one knock-out version of 'Bread and Roses'.” - Ray Korona, topical singer-songwriter
The Flames of Discontent are among the most awsome rabble-rowswers of our day, responsibly playing their music where it's needed most”

— Journey Blue Heaven, musician/activist, host of "Woodstock Tell-a-Vision" TV program

WOODSTOCK MUSIC STORE OWNER REMEMBERED By John W. Barry Poughkeepsie Journal A light snow fell on Rock City Road in Woodstock, just a short walk from the village green where the band Rusted Root gave a free concert in August 2002, on a day off from dates with Carlos Santana. Over at Levon Helm's barn Sunday night, the former drummer for The Band, Grammy nominee and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member was taking a night off after holding one of his Ramble house concerts the night before. But as he rested up for a sold-out New Year's Eve Ramble, many of the musicians who play in his band were giving a concert of their own. One of the most famous little towns anywhere, Woodstock owes a lot of its notoriety to the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair. For many, the name Woodstock conjures images of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Bob Dylan, who did not perform at Woodstock the concert, lived for many years in Woodstock the town. Woodstock may have secured its place in history for the coming centuries, but this past Sunday night did not belong to Jimi or Janis or Bob. For more than four hours at the Colony Cafe, friends and musicians remembered with fondness the guy who ran the Woodstock Music Shop at 18 Rock City Road. Died Dec. 26 Ron Osenenko, 58, co-owner of the music shop, died suddenly the day after Christmas. He was a former South Florida resident who worked in marketing for 25 years. At the Colony Cafe Sunday, songs were sung, hugs were shared and laughter lingered. "The loss of him leaves an emptiness in this community and in my heart, which will never be filled," singer-songwriter Tom Pacheco said from the stage. Inside the Colony Cafe, two doors down from the music store, dozens of Christmas lights had been strung and a warm fire blazed. The mood was somber, but the memories were happy. Osenenko was a man credited with inspiring a sense of community, serving musicians well and offering solid service. "It's hard to describe the Woodstock Music Shop without sounding clichéd - unique, personal, different, intimate, special ... all of that," said keyboard player Pete Levin, who has performed with Annie Lennox, Paul Simon and Gil Evans. "But the best part was walking in and getting a big smile and hello from Ron Osenenko from behind the counter. A good-natured gentleman and profoundly generous, Ron was wonderfully supportive of local musicians and the Woodstock music scene. In between songs Sunday night, some of the songwriters who make up the backbone of this Catskill Mountain town spoke of Osenenko in terms of guitar picks and microphone stands, the little things that mean so much to musicians, who live for their craft. There were also memories of a friend, someone with whom you could share a pleasant conversation, someone who was much more than just a local merchant. "Ron was a gentle soul and he just always made you feel good," said Charles Lyonhart of Woodstock. "Ron was a special person. Of Osenenko's business flair, Lyonhart said, "It wasn't a rush job. Backed by guitar and bass Sunday night, Lyonhart played a spirited set of songs. Also hitting their musical mark Sunday night was The Flames of Discontent, a Beacon-based duo. Guitarist and vocalist John Pietaro had high praise for Osenenko, who sold CDs by The Flames of Discontent, advertised their shows and let them stage a protest music workshop in the store over the summer. "Ron Osenenko was a shop-keep that seemed out of place in our plastic, sound bite-driven era," Pietaro said. "But then, Woodstock is often like that. Ron harkened back to a time when a merchant was really a member of the family and a music store a haven for musicians and aspiring musicians alike. When The Flames of Discontent first made the pilgrimage to Woodstock, we knew we needed to go into that store, which seemed like it should always have been there. That warm gentleman behind the counter greeted us - and all who ventured inside - like an old friend. So we kept going back. Richard Prans of Woodstock, who also performed, said, "I felt good when I was talking to him. "I'll miss him," Prans continued. "I'll miss him. Vocalist Amy Helm, a member of the band Ollabelle, whose father is Levon Helm, spoke warmly of Osenenko at Saturday's Ramble. Helm and her husband, horn player Jay Collins, subsequently sent an e-mail to the Journal, detailing their thoughts on Osenenko. "We remember Ron for his gentle soul and his kindness," the couple said. "He was a shining example of generosity and service to his community. He will be warmly remembered for helping every musician who crossed his path. During a conversation Wednesday, Ron's brother, Woodstock Music Shop co-owner Derek Osenenko, said his brother "poured heart and grit into this shop." Ron Osenenko ran the shop. "He was really honored to work with so many fine musicians up here," Derek Osenenko said, "and he really approached his work sort of as a duty to help support musicians in this area as best he could. Reach John W. Barry at or 845-437-4822.” - John Barry

Poughkeepsie Journal

ROLL MAGAZINE, Highlights: Sa 10/13: Dissident Folk and Arts Fest, Howland Cultural Center, Beacon— The brainchild of songwriter and social activist John Pietaro, the Second Annual Dissident Folk and Arts Fest promises to be a full scale hullabaloo. Designated a “Daniel Pearl Music Day” event, musicians, poets, and speakers abound, with workshops on Woody Guthrie and New Orleans Today, as well as a special tribute to Bertolt Brecht. Music by Zenote Sompantle, The Flames of Discontent, and the Gwen Laster Ensemble, among others, and guest speaker Beacon city councilwoman Eleanor Thompson. All proceeds goto Howland’s geo-thermal project. 477 Main St., Beacon, www., 845.831.4988, 1-11PM.”

Roll Magazine

THE POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL Unionists call for workers' rights in the valley" By Alice Hunt Workers of Dutchess County, unite! That was the message of the 12th annual Dutchess County Labor Day Rally held in front of the Poughkeepsie Post Office on Mansion Street Monday afternoon. The hourlong event was attended by a mix of Democrat county legislators, Democrat county legislative candidates, union leaders and union members. The group of about 40 held signs reading "Can you afford to get $ick?" "Fair contract for LOOP bus drivers" and "Living wage laws save taxpayers' money." The goal of the annual rally is to acknowledge and honor those who have fought for workers' rights in the past and to advocate for workers' rights in the present, said County Legislator Joel Tyner, D-Clinton, who hosted the rally. The dozen speakers at the rally, who ranged from union workers to politicians, stressed the importance of a fair contract for the Dutchess County LOOP bus workers, whose contract extension is about to expire; demanded a fair wages law for the county and supported the concept of a project-labor agreement requirement for Dutchess County projects costing more than $3 million. Wendell Davis, a union member with Teamsters Local 445, the union representing Dutchess County LOOP and Dial-a-Ride workers, was one of the speakers. A day's pay for a day's work - that's all we're asking," he told the group. Singing for solidarity The rally also featured songs, including a pro-union anthem called "Solidarity Forever" performed by folk singers Pat Lamanna, Chris Ruhe and John Pietaro. It's important for unions to support each other, Davis said. It just shows that we're fighting for the same causes," he said. "It serves to give hope to other unions. They'll see if the Teamsters can do it, so can they." Mike Salvia, executive vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 1120, a union representing a variety of workers, agreed. That's the core of our strength," he said of labor union cooperation. "That's the core of our ability to stand up against injustice.” - Alice Hunt

The Poughkeepsie Journal

WOODSTOCK TIMES, August 9, 2007 “The Flames of Discontent CD Party” Novo Protest ensemble The Flames of Discontent will celebrate their latest CD at a release party Saturday August 11, 8:30 PM, at Joshua’s Java Lounge, 51 Tinker Street, Woodstock. The Flames officially released “Revenge of the Atom Spies”, a stinging political disc, in March of this year. Since that date they have been busy performing all over the Hudson Valley. “Revenge of the Atom Spies” has received powerful review in the Daily Freeman (“Flames of Discontent single-handedly bring back protest songs”) and a variety of internet zines including the UK-based “Whisperin & Hollerin” (“Riffs enough to cut through the US deficit”). Radio airplay has come via WDST-FM, WKZE-FM, WJFF-FM, WBAI-FM and underground, college and indie radio stations across the country. Two of its selections have also been chosen to be a part of Neil Young’s ‘Living With War Today’ website, achieving first-column status.”

— The Woodstock Times

WOODSTOCK TIMES, July 19, 2007: “ A Woody Guthrie Birthday Hoot The seminal protest singer, Woody Guthrie, will be feted Sunday July 22, 6 – 9PM, at the Colony Café. This July marks the folk legend’s 95th birth anniversary, and 2007 is also the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Woody’s untimely death. The event will feature the novo protest ensemble The Flames of Discontent (John Pietaro, vocals/electric banjo; Laurie Towers, lead electric bass/vocals; Rafael Figueroa, percussion, vocals) with guest artists Hope machine (Fred Gillen Jr., vocals/guitar and Steve Kirkman, vocals, guitar). John Pietaro is the organizer of this party and will serve as M.C. He will also offer an opening address which will give historic and political context to the program. In between Hope Machine’s set and the Flames’, the avant garde duet of Mancini & Martin (Gus Mancini, alto saxophone; Patricia Martin, spoken word) will offer a brief set of Guthrie prose and poetry. Admission is $6. For more information call (845) 679-5342.”

— Woodstock Times

POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL March 10, 2007: Band Hosts CD Release Party in Beacon" The Flames of Discontent will hold a CD release party tonight in Beacon to celebrate the completion of its new CD "Revenge of the Atom Spies". This CD is a collection of 14 social justice songs--originals and covers--that cover a wide territory, including the Spanish Civil War, Industrial Workers of the World and Tennessee Ernie Ford. The CD release performance is set for 8 tonight at Chthonic Clash Coffeehouse, 453 main Street, Beacon. Admission is $5. The Beacon-based Flames of Discontent are John Pietaro on vocals, electric and acoustic 5-string banjos, spoken word and percussion; and Laurie Towers on electric bas guitar and background vocals; with Rafael Figueroa on percussion and vocals.” - John Barry

Poughkeepsie Journal