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Neil Woodward | Old Timers

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Michigan's Troubadour Website Neil Woodward's Website

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Folk: Traditional Folk Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Old Timers

by Neil Woodward

American songs, tunes and stories brought to life with a wagon load of sounds by Michigan's Troubadour, Neil Woodward
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Wreck of the Julie Plante
3:06 $0.99
2. Once More a-Lumberin' Go
3:51 $0.99
3. Lorena
6:04 $0.99
4. She Is Far from the Land
2:58 $0.99
5. The Flowers of Michigan/the Flowers of Edinburg
2:54 $0.99
6. Ballad of the Frozen Logger
3:23 $0.99
7. The Jam At Gerry's Rock
4:47 $0.99
8. Jay Gould's Daughter
3:31 $0.99
9. When You and I Were Young
4:58 $0.99
10. Hornpipe Medley: Sailor's Hornpipe/Kitty's Wedding/Off to California
2:30 $0.99
11. The Big Rock Candy Mountain
3:14 $0.99
12. The Strawberry Roan
6:14 $0.99
13. Si Bheg Si Mohr
4:00 $0.99
14. The Flat River Girl
4:22 $0.99
15. Bonaparte's Retreat
1:45 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Old Timers
Notes from Neil Woodward
Michigan's Troubadour

The songs and tunes of the Old Timers CD represent a wide ranging sample of everyday Americans’ experiences during the first two hundred years of our country’s history. The author wishes to thank everyone who has listened to the CD, and especially to the folks who have attended the live concert presentations of this material.

I am greatly encouraged by all the public and private schools, libraries, and individual teachers, administrators and librarians who have found the song traditions worthwhile to pass along to our children. The vibrant musical stories of our mothers and fathers have served in many classrooms as framework and substance for lessons in history, as well as music, art, theatre and dance.

I am heartened by the family stories generously shared with me by so many people during intermissions and/or after my concerts. Hearing the songs often vividly brings to mind precious personal recollections of relatives and acquaintances, forgotten or neglected memories of other places and other times. Over and over again, I witness the unique way in which music transcends time and space, pulling all our hearts together as one people.

Further, I am indebted to all the independent media programmers who have chosen to broadcast these classics of North American folk music from stations as close as Detroit and as far away as New Zealand.

My personal connections to the songs of Old Timers are briefly described in the introductions for each piece. You may have a personal memory of an individual or specific location connected to some of this material. My hope is that by revisiting these memories your heart may be warmed again.

My hope is that you may find a small part of the wonder and beauty of discovery and involvement in the traditions of the troubadour.

When I was young I was fortunate to have parents and teachers who deemed it important to introduce me to the wonders of the natural world, and guided me to find my own place within its natural balance. My mother and father taught me to identify and appreciate the songs of robins, cardinals, chickadees and mourning doves. They showed me which wild berries I could pick and enjoy with my friends, while also making sure I would recognize and appreciate the awesome power of poison ivy.

I would not have realized these and so many other valuable lessons of the woods and waters without a little guidance and the opportunity to be out in the fields exploring. Now decades later, I am thankful each day to be able to observe the world around me with a keen sense of the underlying currents of time and timelessness, strength and fragility of life on earth as demonstrated in our natural environment.

Likewise we introduce our children to the cultural world surrounding us by exposure to and immersion in our stories and songs. Countless generations of earth dwellers have passed along their cultural DNA through the medium of music. This process naturally begins close to home, as we include our children in singing, dancing and other social art forms with family, neighbors and friends. The ever-widening circle proceeds outward from what is most familiar, and extends to people and places that seem at first distant and exotic. Notwithstanding language, cultural, geographical and historical diversity, immersion in Humanities studies always reveals more about the remarkable similarities than the differences in humans around the world and throughout time.

I am eternally grateful to have grown up in a family that sings together. For my own experience, understanding of all the really important elements of history and human relations was gained through exercises in the elemental materials of folk arts and culture. The process is easy and painless. It brings a lot of pleasure and spreads a lot of joy among those we love most dearly.

Old Timers tells tales of immigrants’ hopes and the old home place, Great Lakes mariners and lumbermen, weary soldiers and anxious families at home, railroad bosses and hoboes, cowboys and farmers, fiddlers and dancers advancing and military forces in retreat.

The common thread that weaves together these diverse accounts into the fabric of America’s story is musical performance. The use of the word here should not necessarily imply nor require a formal setting and professional standards of performance evaluation. Performance in this case refers to the process of actively making the music, or more plainly singing the songs. As a poet famously noted, all God’s children have a place in the choir. Folk music is often described as an oral tradition, vividly relating the times, experiences and emotions of the people telling the stories and making the sounds. These people and their stories only come alive upon another person hearing their voices, the first person evidence of their lives.

We cannot idly stand by and leave to the media professionals something as important as passing along our culture and values to future generations. In this noisy, fast paced modern world there is a virtual tidal wave of information and sound passing before us each day. We must not allow these powerful and often superficially attractive forces to rewrite our story. Portable personal entertainment centers must not be allowed to replace the precious moments we share together. It has become easy for people to mistake what is being sold to us as entertainment as something inherently worthwhile to spend time with. Only occasionally in our history have commercial and cultural interests briefly run parallel courses. Most of us would agree that the programming on prime time television networks does not accurately reflect what goes on in most of our lives.

So thanks again to all the folks who are enjoying the Old Timers CD, especially those singers and musicians who have spent time learning and performing some of the music. Pick out some stories that speak to you. Sing them with your friends and neighbors. Sing them with your children. It is in this manner and by these activities that civilizations celebrate and perpetuate our finest hours and pass on our most precious treasures.

Neil Woodward
Michigan’s Troubadour
Cohoctah, Michigan

"A good song is like a many-faceted jewel.... Try them out, turn them over, look at them from several angles. Taste ‘em. On the page of a book they are in a state of suspended animation. It takes singers to bring them to life. And such is their magic, that they can bring a fuller life to you."
Pete Seeger

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
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
Also featured as multi-instrumentalist:
Woody Guthrie’s American Song Original Cast Album

More about Neil Woodward: www.NeilWoodward.com www.MichigansTroubadour.com



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