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Lee Murdock has uncovered a boundless body of music and stories in the Great Lakes. There is an amazing timelessness in this music. Great Lakes songs are made of hard word, hard living, ships that go down and ships that come in. Noted as a fluent instrumentalist, Murdock's musical influences span fifteen generations, combining ragtime, Irish, blues and folk styles with his flair for storytelling in songs. Making folk music for the modern era, Lee Murdock’s work is a documentary and also an anthem to the people who live, work, learn and play along the freshwater highways of North America.
"... a fine job of recreating history and holding it up to a poet’s light.”
—Sing Out! Magazine
“Lee Murdock deserves a place with other great singers of folk songs for children such as Pete Seeger, Tom Glazer and Ella Jenkins."
—School Library Journal
Lee Murdock has released sixteen CDs and two books since 1980, and all of them have been met with strong radio airplay across the USA and Canada, and some parts of Europe. No two concerts are alike, because Lee likes to customize his repertoire to reflect the songs of the region he’s visiting, or to coincide with historic anniversaries or contemporary insights.
Here are a few suggested program titles and themes
Lee Murdock in concert: Great Lakes Maritime music
Lee Murdock has uncovered a boundless body of music and stories in the Great Lakes. No two concerts are exactly the same. Lee selects songs appropriate to concert locale, regional history, or even simply to satisfy audience requests.
Like the Great Castles the lighthouses on the Inland Seas. Lee's songs and stories share the tragedy and the heroics, the isolation and the beauty and the drama of lighthouse lore and the Life Saving Service. Especially popular for libraries and senior citizen groups.
Great Lakes Ghosts
A narrated concert featuring songs of supernatural legends and spooky tales of ghost ships and haunted lighthouses. The perfect fall program for libraries and museums.
The Christmas Tree Ship Concerts
A holiday concert commemorating the turn-of-the-century tradition of carrying Christmas trees to ports on the lower Great Lakes. This was the final cargo of the season during the lumber schooner days, after the last of the logs from the northern forests were hauled south to build the cities of the Midwest. The Rouse Simmons was but one of many ships hauling this cargo, though perhaps the most famous and beloved ship of her day.
Windjammers, Sternwheelers, and Tin-Stackers: Working Waterways of Illinois
Using folk songs to tell the story of commerce on the rivers, canals and Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Illinois, Lee Murdock traces the rise of shipping in this state, from the days of keel boats, through to today’s 1000 foot Lake freighters. In old songs and new, he sings of lake schooners hauling grain and iron ore, famous river packets delivering their goods and passengers, and the canal boatmen who navigated across the Illinois prairie. He speaks to the shift in shipping technology, from sailing craft to steam powered vessels. Lee tells of heroic deeds, comical characters, and the beauty of our state’s waterways.
In about an hour, Lee Murdock sings and speaks the language of the river rats and schooner-men, the lighthouse keepers and fisher-folk, the modern day sailor and the environmentalist.
“I’m interested in trying to find the life in these songs; in making music that’s exciting to people today. I am looking for the songs and the interesting stories, not only for the people who already enjoy folk music, but for those who think they don’t like folk music.”
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