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A Letter From Utah Phillips

15 Aug 07 - 06:41 PM (#2126442)
Subject: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Mark Ross

Fellow 'Catters,

Utah asked me to post this. I was with him in Nevada City this weekend and he looks real good, but he is tired. This should explain everything.

Mark Ross


FROM U. UTAH PHILLIPS

Dear Friends,
A dozen years ago I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. At that time I was finding it increasingly difficult to follow my trade. I stopped touring and pretty well assumed that my performing life was over. It was a very difficult time, but we(Joanna and I)with the help of friends throughout the music world kept the ship afloat. Your help was the ark that bouyed us over those hard times. I created "Loafer's Glory-Hobo Jungle of the Mind", a syndicated radio show to make a living in one place. But the underwriting didn't materialize and so I found it necessary to go back to the stage, although in a more limited way. Fortunately through proper medication, particularly cordorone, exercise, yoga, diet and a 3-day-a week cardiac rehab class at the local hospital, I had become stronger, lighter, and more confident of my ability to travel and work. So, I suspended the radio show and all fund raising on our behalf and with the help of Jim Fleming and friends and comrades at Fleming Artists, and of course the folk music community, I went back to work.
Ten years later, I found that the effect of cordorne is fibrosis of the lung. So the cordorone which is a chemical intervention regulating arrythmias was suspended and I got a pacemaker-defibulator installed, The Neo-Luddite has a computer in his chest -Life is fraught with contradiction. The device doesn't control arrythmias, however, and is intended, should my heart rate increase or slow down too much to "restore it a sense of its duty" as Captain Aubry would put it.
Recently I wore a 24 hour monitor to record my heart's arrythmias. I am running aout 34% pre-ventricular contractions, often in a series of four. My ejection fraction (how much blood gets pumped per beat) is in the low 20%. Normal is 60%. The heart is contracting on an empty chamber. I also found, through an examination of my guidant pace maker record that I have gone into extremely fast, arrythmic tachardias at least four times in the past year. The defibulator did it's job and I'm still here. But recently I have experienced great fatigue and have been out of breath a great deal of the time. Unfortunately I have had to cancel two festivals which were very important to me. My ability to continue in the trade has been called into doubt.
One possible solution has presented itself--catheter ablation. An electrode catheter is inserted into the heart so that it lies near the abnormal electrical pathway causing abnormal heart rythms. Heat is passed through it and neutralizes a small area of heart tissue where the abnormal pathway is. The prcedure is intended to mitigate my ventricular tachycardia. There is 75% chance that I can reduce the arythmias by 75%. The procedure will take place within the next two weeks. If successfull, I will continue my performing schedule. I particularly look forward to playing Alaska in Mid-September. If the procedure is less than successfull, I will leave the traveling life and decide what to do with myself. In any case I look at whatever happens as an opportunity. The future remains wide open. I hope this tract clarifies my situation so that there are no misunderstandings. I am truely grateful for the concern offered me by our folk music family. We will always be together. Please hold a good thought over the next two weeks: I'll let you all know how it works out. Onward!
Love & Solidarity,
U.Utah Phillips.
Box1235 Nevada City CA 95959


15 Aug 07 - 06:46 PM (#2126445)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Stilly River Sage

Good luck with all of that!


15 Aug 07 - 06:55 PM (#2126450)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Bill D

wow...so many options these days! Well, so very many will be looking forward to the BEST possible outcome....and we'll be watching for messages!

Thanks, Mark...


15 Aug 07 - 07:08 PM (#2126457)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: catspaw49

The ablation can do an excellent job in helping out. I had one in '98 and it made a significant difference. They generally take about 2 hours but some can go longer.

I too have a Guidant ICD (recently installed) as a protectant against VT or VF. Plus I have an artificial mitral valve, a dissected aorta from heart arch to femoral artery, and had a quad bypass in '97.

Still kickin' with a handful of pills as well......To paraphrase DuPont----Barely Living through Chemistry

Utah's been fightin' for years and I'm sure he has some more left in him......Good Luck to ya'!!

Spaw


15 Aug 07 - 07:13 PM (#2126462)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: gnu

Thoughts and prayers.


15 Aug 07 - 07:15 PM (#2126465)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Liz the Squeak

I'm in good company for once... I too, had a catheter ablation a couple of years ago and the change it made was amazing.

Good luck to Utah, try and watch it if you can, and if you don't get freaked out by that sort of thing!

LTS


15 Aug 07 - 07:43 PM (#2126485)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: van lingle

I'm holding lots of good thoughts for you, Utah. I can't begin to tell you what your songs and stories and spirit have meant to me over the years. Dave


15 Aug 07 - 07:47 PM (#2126487)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: kendall

This guy is near the top of my short list of heros.
There is a picking party this weekend, and Utah's songs will be sung.

It doesn't look like we will be able to do that gig this year, I still don't have a voice. May have to settle for being alive.


15 Aug 07 - 07:48 PM (#2126489)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: katlaughing

Hang in there, Utah! If Spaw and I and a few others can survive our heart challenges (it's a little over two years since I got a new aortic valve, after EIGHT years on O2 for CHF and I'm doing great!), I am sure you can, too! Plus, you have a bunch of Mudcat Power coming atcha. That is what kept us all going, several times, in our various procedures, etc.

Thanks so much for letting us know. Please know I will be giving thanks for the best possible outcome and when you make it to Alaska I'll tell my sister, Mudcatter "bet" she better try to make your concert!

All is well and time will tell,

kat & my Rog


15 Aug 07 - 07:49 PM (#2126492)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: jacqui.c

Lots of good thoughts from me my love. I hope that everything goes as it should - we're still hoping to have a return match for you and Kendall one day soon.


15 Aug 07 - 08:21 PM (#2126521)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: GUEST,Bert on Kelly's machine.

So ya got a pacemaker eh! Does that mean that you have to sing everything to the same rhythm? *GRIN*

Keep on keeping on man. Let us know when you are next in the Colorado Springs area.


15 Aug 07 - 08:29 PM (#2126526)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Sorcha

Yes, keep on keeping on. We aren't ready to do without you yet.

YA HEAR THAT?


15 Aug 07 - 08:30 PM (#2126527)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Effsee

Bruce, your songs, humour and work has always been an inspiration since I "discovered" you about ten years ago(Thanks Ani!). Sliante Mhath - Great health from the highlands of Scotland.


15 Aug 07 - 09:00 PM (#2126551)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: GUEST,Texas Guest

I'm in your corner, Utah. I had a aortic valve and three-quarters of my ascending aorta replaced back in 1990 - bionic, I am now, one could say. You've got my prayers and thoughts; and, hopefully, we'll cross paths somewhere along the trail. Cheers.


15 Aug 07 - 09:23 PM (#2126558)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: GUEST,Art Thieme

A reminder to Utah from an old friend who is off the road now too. It's amazing what we can sort of get used to. The more things change, the more they get different! And the hot dusty road is always a mesmerizing panorama.

Thanks for all the one liners and jokes I stole from you through the years! And the songs & long tall tales too. All of 'em surely were good though...

So, where's that Eskimo you wanted me to kill!!!!!!

Be well,

Art


15 Aug 07 - 09:39 PM (#2126565)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Bill D

not 'kill'...wrestle, Art..wrestle! *grin*


15 Aug 07 - 11:11 PM (#2126622)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: open mike

Utah..I send best wishes for all the health and happiness.
Your performance in Chico a while ago was a great bringing-
together of many people in the community. Thanks for your
inspiration and encouragement in such endeavors. Your songs
and stories lift us up! Laurel from the Butte Folk Music Society.


15 Aug 07 - 11:25 PM (#2126635)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: GUEST,George Mann

I don't know if it occurred to folks, but as utah had to cancel two gigs and it's unclear if he can make his September commitments, this would be a really good time to order some of his CDs directly from No Guff.... or just send him a thank you/get well card with a contribution... I know I owe him much more than I can afford to send, but mine is in the mail this week...


16 Aug 07 - 12:18 AM (#2126672)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: astro

My Sweetie (who posts here often) and I saw Utah performing with Joe Craven at the Kate Wolf Festival in California first of summer which was great! We will always remember that performance and will look forwards to the next time we see Utah perform - we'll keep our thoughts for Utah very positive....


16 Aug 07 - 12:38 AM (#2126680)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: katlaughing

George Mann, that is an excellent suggestion. Here's the info from his website:

U. Utah Phillips
No Guff Records
P.O. Box 1235
Nevada City, CA 95959
(530) 265-2476

Utah does not have an email address. He tried it at one time and it wound up taking too much time out of his very busy day. So he prefers orders to be mailed or called in. And as his answering machine says: Feel free to leave a rant or a rave or anything else you feel he should know about.

New lower prices: All CD's are $15 each.
Shipping and sales taxes extra. Prices subject to change without notice.
______________________________________________________

There's a link to a neat article from 2001. It is HERE.


16 Aug 07 - 12:49 AM (#2126684)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Desert Dancer

He may not have e-mail but there's a www.utahphillips.org web site with the No Guff catalog listed and an order form on this page, order form is here.

~ Desert Dancer
(he was indeed fine at Kate Wolf Fest)


16 Aug 07 - 09:01 AM (#2126947)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman

Bruce, if you happen to read or hear of this thread just let me just add my fondest wishes for a good recovery and a long life and lots more songs. Bob


16 Aug 07 - 12:41 PM (#2127145)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: kendall

Bob, he will know of this. Our friend, Mark Ross sees him fairly often. I wish he was on the East coast so we could go and stir him up.


16 Aug 07 - 12:47 PM (#2127154)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: ClaireBear

Just wanted to say that a dear friend (on whose farm, in fact, the Kate Wolf Festival used to be held, so Bruce will probably know who I mean) had that same heart procedure a few years ago, and it did wonders for him.

Best of luck -- I'll keep you in my heart.

Claire


16 Aug 07 - 07:07 PM (#2127464)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Hollowfox

Utah is also one of the best houseguests I've ever had stay with me. This was 'way back in 197mumble when he had his first gig at the 8th Step in Albany NY. Good thoughts, prayers, and a couple of genuine purebred Midwestern $#@!-reduction candles are coming at you from Ohio.


21 Aug 07 - 10:08 AM (#2130384)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: GUEST,Sixpack

Sending blessings for a speedy recovery and long life of happiness.

I still remember and tell stories about our time in Jonesborough Tennessee at the National Storytelling Festival. How you were able to show the folk a different look of that town through your open eyes. Thank you for opening our eyes and our hearts.
Still raising sheep, dispite your warnings.
Sixpack, Albany NY.


21 Aug 07 - 10:57 AM (#2130410)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Midchuck

New lower prices: All CD's are $15 each.
Shipping and sales taxes extra. Prices subject to change without notice.


I assume that doesn't include the 4-CD retrospective set. Which is a "must have" in spite of his absurd statement about who is the best singer of folk songs in North America....

Peter


21 Aug 07 - 11:17 AM (#2130417)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: GUEST,Bruce Murdoch

You started this fight longer ago than 12 years, Bruce. It goes back decades. And here you still are. And here you will still be in a few weeks. Some folks are important symbols of right, justice and equality, and you are one of those folks. You've always been a man of greqt integrity, good humour and a fighter for justice who just didn't know how to back down. That still shows clearly in the letter that Mark posted. Yours in solidarity? Damned right. And yours in solidarity back atcha.

BM

PS I expect to hear you sing "The Goodnight-Loving Trail" a few more times and attend concerts or festivals where I can try to steal your timing on that "Next time, Orville, you'd better ask for a loaf of bread" story you told at an Edmonton Folk Festival years back.

What is it Mark always closes his correspondence with? Yeah, 'Take it easy, but TAKE it.' You too do that. Later.

B


21 Aug 07 - 11:48 AM (#2130432)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: SINSULL

My thoughts are with Joanna. This man can not be an easy patient. Be well.
Mary


21 Aug 07 - 12:03 PM (#2130438)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Rapparee

My brother had nine bypasses, two heart attacks, and a small stroke and he's still with us. I mean, we did our best, but he's still with us.

So you'd just better stick around, 'cause if you don't we'll all just be madder'n hell at ya.


21 Aug 07 - 12:29 PM (#2130460)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: GUEST,saulgoldie

My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Saul


21 Aug 07 - 05:48 PM (#2130651)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: Big Mick

Bruce, I need you to get better. We have much work to do, and your hands and voice are needed in the job. Not to mention the "passin' it on" that remains to be done.

All the best,

Big Mick Lane
Union Organizer/Folk singer/agitator/layabout extraordinaire
Founding Member of Lane, Fielding, Patterson, and Swan
Layabouts-at-Large and for Hire
"It was nothin', Ma'am, really"


21 Aug 07 - 06:45 PM (#2130692)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: lefthanded guitar

My thoughts and prayers are with you Bruce. I used to see you at Cafe Lena in the seventies, and have never stopped singing your songs. Hardly a round robin I go to where I or someone else doesn't sing one of yours. Each one a gem.

I think you will continue bring joy and music to the world what ever happens to you, and I wish you the best.

Btw When I used to see you at Lena's,back in the 70's (I was in school at the time) you were the only performer who was truly approachable. I remember you even joined a bunch of my friends at a table just to hang out and chat. I never forgot that. (You wouldn't remember me b/c I was such a starstruck school girl at that point, I couldn't utter a word lol). But thanks for that - so many talented people appeared at the place,but you were the only one who was kind enough to treat your fans the same as you would treat your friends.


22 Aug 07 - 05:54 PM (#2131454)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: chrisr18

I haven't had a lot of life changing moments in my comparativley short life, but I'd have to say that one of them was seeing Utah in Cambridge this past winter. And I plan on seeing him many every other chance I get.

I know it's not easy to make it up to the northeast, Utah, but we love to see you up here.

I know you have lots more to tell us. Best wishes and good health.


22 Aug 07 - 06:18 PM (#2131477)
Subject: RE: A Letter From Utah Phillips
From: stallion

I had the ablation thing just over a year ago, got my life back, I spent eight months on a couch sleeping mostly, two weeks after the proc. I was up a mountain! I have had a couple of relapses and I still have a damaged heart vessel due to the drugs ( I was on the drugs 10 years and only got the ablation after I had a heart attack) but all seems to be under control, I have had a couple of spells in hospital but there is enough warning and it isn't life threatening just debilitating. Good luck with it, it will change your life.
Peter