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Neil Woodward | Michigan-I-A

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Michigan's Troubadour Website Neil Woodward's Website

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United States - Michigan

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Folk: Traditional Folk Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by Neil Woodward

Traditional and original Great Lakes Folk Songs with a boat load of musical instruments performed by Michigan's Troubadour, Neil Woodward.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Michigan-I-A
4:21 $0.99
2. Louie Sands and Jim McGhee
2:09 $0.99
3. Johnny Gallegher
3:23 $0.99
4. Ballad of the Iron County Courthouse
3:29 $0.99
5. The Flowers of the Forest/The Lightkeeper Wonders
4:08 $0.99
6. The Streets of Hamtramck
3:41 $0.99
7. Dog Trot in Ishpeming
4:21 $0.99
8. I Will Always Remember You
2:56 $0.99
9. The Wild Mustard River
2:33 $0.99
10. Michigan-I-O
3:13 $0.99
11. The Lumberjack's Alphabet
2:51 $0.99
12. Red Iron Ore
3:25 $0.99
13. Saint Anne's Reel
3:10 $0.99
14. The Vacant Chair
4:38 $0.99
15. Blind Mary
3:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Michigan's Troubadour Neil Woodward presents musical stories in his songs and tunes with Michigan-I-A. Voice, fiddle, guitar, banjo, concertina, harmonica, mandolin, mandocello, dulcimer, autoharp and Irish bodhran tell the tale of the early days of Michigan. Along the way, the listener hears settlers, sailors, farmers, lumber workers, light keepers, fiddlers, dancers, soldiers, miners and factory laborers.

The Michigan-I-A CD all began with an old poem, c.1840 published in several newspapers in the Great Lakes region. The unidentified author extolls the virtues of life on what was then the Western frontier. Yankee farmers are advised to "come go with me and settle in Michigan-I-A." The Erie Canal was recently opened, described as "a mighty ditch which renders it more easy for us to find our way to sail upon the waters of Michigan-I-A." Michigan was just admitted to the State of the Union, "now she's quite a lady, this Michigan-I-A."

Here is the original poem, the source and lyrics of the song featured on Track 1 of Neil Woodward's CD.


Come all ye Yankee farmers who’d like to change your lot
With spunk enough to travel beyond your native spot
And leave behind the village where pa and ma doth stay
Come go with me and settle in Michigan-I-A
For there’s your Penobscot way down in parts of Maine
Where timber grows a-plenty, but not a bit of grain
And then there is your Quaddy and your Piscatacaway
But these can’t hold a candle to Michigan-I-A

And there’s your state of Vermont, but what a place is that?
To be sure the girls are pretty and the cattle very fat
But who amongst her mountains and clouds of snow would stay
When he can have a section in Michigan-I-A?
And Massachusetts was once good enough to be sure
But now she’s always lying in taxation and manure
She’ll cause a peck of trouble, but deal a peck will pay
When all is scripture measure in Michigan-I-A

And there’s your land of blue laws where deacons cut their hair
For fear their locks and tenets will not exactly square
Where beer that works on Sundays a penalty must pay
When all is free and easy in Michigan-I-A
And in the state of New York peoples very rich
They amongst themselves and others have dug a mighty ditch
Which renders it more easy for us to find our way
And sail upon the waters of Michigan-I-A

What country ever grew up so great in little time?
Just springing from a nursery and into life it’s prime
When Uncle Sam did wean her ‘twas but the other day
And now she’s quite a lady, this Michigan-I-A
And if you want to go to a place called Washtenaw
You’ll first upon the Huron, such land you never saw
Where ship comes to Ann Arbor right through a pleasant bay
And touch at Ypsilanti in Michigan-I-A

And if you want to travel a little farther back
You’ll reach the shire of Oakland, and the town of Pontiac
Which springing up so sudden scared the bears and wolves away
That used to roam about there in Michigan-I-A
And if you want to go where Rochester is there
Further still Mount Clemens looks out upon St. Clair
Along with other places within Macomb-i-a
Which promise population to Michigan-I-A
And if you want to travel a little further on
I guess you’ll touch St. Joseph where everybody’s gone
Where everything like Jack’s beans grows monstrous fast they say
And beats the rest all hollow in Michigan-I-A
So come all ye Yankee farmer boys with a mettle heart like me
With elbow grease a-plenty to bow the forest tree
Come buy a quarter section, and I’ll be bound you’ll say
This country takes the rag off, this Michigan-I-A!

Source: Emelyn Elizabeth Gardner
Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 1939

Neil Woodward Biographical Sketch

Neil Woodward is Michigan’s Troubadour.
For over thirty years he has shared folk music’s warmth and wisdom with Great Lakes audiences. In such historic surroundings as Crossroads Village, Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Greenfield Village, and in schools and libraries lake-to-lake, his vast repertoire and enthusiasm bring to life the Michigan experience for people from around the world.

In 2003 the Legislature of the State of Michigan officially named Neil Woodward Michigan’s Troubadour in recognition of his life long commitment to preservation of Great Lakes folk music and culture.

Neil is a course guest lecturer for Michigan, Eastern and Wayne State Universities. He is a Faculty and Presenter member teacher of Smithsonian Associates.

The Arts Foundation of Michigan (now ArtServe Michigan) with their Creative Artist Grant Award recognized Neil’s own compositions as continuing contributions to the troubadour’s tradition, an artistic chronicle of significant individuals and events. His songs, recordings and concerts have earned him nine Detroit Music Awards. His traditional recordings are catalogued by the Library of Congress Office of Folklife, Smithsonian Folkways, and by the Archives of the State of Michigan.

Neil’s experience in performance, research, writing, arranging, theatre, audio and video production, and his widely acknowledged skill with over a dozen musical instruments offer a unique perspective to his many private students. His school programs bring our culture into focus for pre-school through college level. In venues as diverse as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Michigan Historical Center, Detroit Institute of Arts, Northern Michigan campgrounds and lighthouses, and community schools and libraries of Alpena, Ann Arbor, Brighton, Byron, Copper Harbor, Charlotte, Davison, Detroit, Flint, Hartland, Howell, Kentwood, Lansing, Montague, Ossineke, Paradise and Ypsilanti, Neil’s performances pay tribute to light keepers, immigrants, laborers, sailors, soldiers, teachers, mothers, fathers, lumberjacks, railroaders, farmers, hobos, auto workers, dancers, singers, musicians and dogs.

Neil may be the only person alive who played both banjo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Jew’s harp at Lincoln Center.

Recordings by Neil Woodward on BLACK DOG RECORDS include:

Warm Winter Night, 2009
Way Of The Rail, 2007
Michigan-I-A, 2005
Peace TROUBLES, 2001
Old Timers, 1999
A Cup Of Kindness music for the season of joy, 1997
In The Year Of The Dog, 1994
Life, Love and Food Songs, 1992
Dog Songs and Other Distractions, 1989
Crossroads Serenade, 1986

More about Neil Woodward: www.NeilWoodward.com www.MichigansTroubadour.com
Neil Woodward is recognized by the State of Michigan Legislature officially as Michigan's Troubadour.



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