LANSING – Escanaba-based singer and storyteller Bill Jamerson will present an hourlong musical tribute to Michigan lumberjacks Saturday, July 29, at 6:30 p.m. at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling.
The program will be performed outside in the amphitheater near the Logging Museum, or inside the visitor center in the event of rain. The program is free and open to the public, but a Recreation Passport is required to enter Hartwick Pines State Park.
With guitar in hand and dressed in costume, Jamerson sings traditional lumberjack songs and tells stories about life in the lumber camps. He takes his audience on a musical journey with songs about working in the woods, living in a bunkhouse, the hardships of river drives, the importance of camp food and going into town in the spring.
Most of the lumberjacks were newly arrived immigrants who brought a zest for living and a hunger for the American dream. The majority came to America to become homesteaders. Many lumberjacks who acquired property for farming continued to spend their winters working in the logging camps for extra income. Jamerson shares many stories he has learned firsthand from the men who worked in the woods and from family members.
The program features traditional lumberjack songs that were passed from camp to camp. Some of the songs include “A Lumberjack’s Life,” which tells of the hardships of working in the cold; “Jack Haggerty,” the story of a broken-hearted river man; and “Jolly Shanty Boy,” which explores the revelry when lumberjacks blew into town. “A Shanty Boy in the Pines” tells of the many jobs in the woods, while “Shanty Boy Wins” tells of the rivalry between farmers and lumberjacks. The songs range from foot-stomping jigs to soulful ballads.
The presentation also will include entertaining and educational stories of lumberjacks’ strength, wit and charm.
Jamerson – who has produced 11 documentaries for public television and CDs of his songs and authored a historical novel about the Civilian Conservation Corps – also presents musical programs about iron miners, the CCC and ski jumpers. For more information about this program, visit his website at www.billjamerson.com.
The Logging Museum is a field site of the Michigan History Center and interprets the white pine logging era of 1840-1910. For more information about this and other programs at Hartwick Pines, call 989-348-2537 or visit www.michigan.gov/hartwickpinesvc.
The Michigan History Center’s museum and archival programs foster curiosity, enjoyment and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories. It includes the Michigan History Museum, 10 regional museums, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, and the Archives of Michigan. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/mhc.