Guitarist researches lost songs of Minnesota's Irish lumberjacksby Tom Crann, Minnesota Public Radio
As recently as 100 years ago, Minnesota's north woods were alive with the sounds of axe, saw -- and song. But most of those songs were lost to the ages, except for a handful collected by a University of Minnesota professor in the 1920s.
Guitarist Brian Miller is reviving some songs that were nearly lost to history.
They're the melodies and lyrics of Minnesota's Irish lumberjacks, who logged the boreal forests in the two decades around the turn of the last century.
The songs blend Irish melodies with New World themes, and reflect the hard work and harsh conditions loggers faced in the early 1900s.
A University of Minnesota, Duluth professor collected some of the tunes in the 1920s. Now Miller is using that research to revive the lyrics and melodies.
MPR's Tom Crann talked with Miller about the collection of songs.