A wandering troubadour and rabble rouser in the tradition of folk music icons like Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston, Anne Feeney plays Boca Raton and Miami this weekend, wrapping up the South Florida leg of her never-ending tour, 2014 edition.
Noted for her extensive repertoire of traditional folk and original protest songs, the Pittsburgh native has the spirit and the music in her blood, taking early inspiration from her mineworkers' organizer/violinist grandfather William Patrick Feeney. Her forty years of performing and songwriting has included some unusual twists and turns.
A Catholic school girl, just four years out of high school she was in the streets of Miami at the 1972 GOP convention, protesting the re-nomination of Richard Nixon and arrested for her troubles (the charges were later dropped). That same year she helped found the counseling center Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, which remains active to this day.
Feeney spent the '70s in college, in a bluegrass band (Cucumber Rapids), and in law school. She married and had children, spent a dozen years as a trial lawyer and was the first woman at the helm of the Pittsburgh Musicians' Union -- all the while making music and engaged in community activism. Feeney is a Wobbly!
Her musical career became more fully her chief focus in the '90s, cutting and releasing the first two of what are now nine albums and taking her tours worldwide -- including an annual Irish leg, to nurture her roots.
More recently, her personal life has been transformed. In 2002 she remarried, to the Swedish political artist Julie Leonardsson; sidelined by cancer following a 2010 diagnosis, she's now in remission and back on the road, though in more limited fashion than previously.
Feeney's prognosis is, she writes, "grim." Still, the months ahead include Midwest labor events this spring and another Irish tour this summer. "I feel great" she says, "and I'm still in good voice and playing the guitar as well as I ever did."
Anne Feeney in concert:
Saturday, February 15, 7 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church of Boca Raton, 2601 St. Andrews Blvd., Boca Raton.
Sunday, February 16, 2 p.m., Michael Stock's Folk and Acoustic Show, WLRN, 91.3 Miami
8:00 PM - Luna Star Cafe
775 NE 125th St, North Miami.
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