It's a long-awaited film/music project, finally coming in December, based on work of Howard Zinn (who I have met, swell guy) with help from Matt Damon. Here's part of the PR Newswire release:
Only genuine passion for an extraordinary and powerful project could bring together artists ranging from Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman and Eddie Vedder to John Legend, Jackson Browne and Lupe Fiasco for exclusive live performances. They and others are heard on The People Speak (Verve/UMe), the soundtrack of the documentary being released December 8, 2009, in conjunction with the December 13 broadcast of the film set to air on History.
The film celebrates democracy, based on the lives and experiences of ordinary Americans who, through their words and actions, changed the course of history, from the founding of this country to the civil rights movement and beyond. ...The People Speak features some of the world's most renowned artists, like Springsteen, who performs with just a guitar and harmonica in his New Jersey home recording studio, and Legend who sings solo backed by a piano at a Boston theatre, as well as others (including Taj Mahal, Allison Moorer, The Black Crowes' Rich Robinson and X's Exene Cervenka and John Doe) at the Malibu Performing Arts Center, where they perform both vintage and recent protest-music classics for The People Speak.
With a sense of timelessness, Springsteen reprises the John Steinbeck/Woody Guthrie-inspired "The Ghost of Tom Joad" from his 1995 album of the same name; Dylan sings Guthrie's "Do Re Mi"; and Dylan's early '60s gems "Masters Of War" and "Only A Pawn In Their Game" are performed by Vedder and Robinson, respectively.
One of the best-known songs of the Great Depression, "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?," is sung by Moorer; Newman is at his piano for one of his finest works, "Sail Away," the title track from his 1972 album; Legend performs Marvin Gaye's '70s anthem "What's Going On"; Mahal lays down the immortal "Blues With A Feeling"; and Cervenka and Doe revive X's roots rocker "See How We Are" from 1987. Bringing protest music up to date are Fiasco's "American Terrorist," first heard on his 2006 debut album; Pink's "Dear Mr. President," heard on her album of that same year; and Browne's "The Drums Of War," which debuted on his 2008 album.
The People Speak documentary is inspired by co-executive producer Howard Zinn's 1980 book, A People's History Of The United States, which has sold more than two million copies, and 2004's Voices Of A People's History Of The United States, which Zinn co-wrote with co-executive producer Anthony Arnove. The film, narrated by Howard Zinn, features dramatic performances chronicling this country's history -- including charter documents, letters, diaries and more -- by such celebrities as Damon, Brolin, Marisa Tomei, Don Cheadle, and Sandra Oh, woven together with archival footage. A DVD of the film and a separate DVD of music performances will be issued in 2010.