Calumet is a region on the southeast side of Chicago and nearby suburbs. It also extends into northwest Indiana. It is basically the area drained by the Calumet Rivers system and Lake Calumet.
150 years ago it was a large watery paradise with millions of birds in the marshes and lakes. Many were migrating from the south to the Lake Michigan shoreline which they would follow north to their summer living grounds. In the fall the migration reversed, and it still does...but to a much lesser extent.
Around the turn of the century massive steel mills, accessory industries, and residences for the workers covered the area. This album deals with some of the folklore and history of the Calumet region and includes the town of Pullman which was built as a commercial utopia in the late 1800's.
One of the songs is an account of the Republic Steel massacre when strikers battled police. There are several songs dealing with the wildlife struggling to survive amidst the changes, a history of Dolton, Illinois, the music scene in Calumet City, a biographical song about a local grassroots activist, Marion Byrnes, the story of the early Dutch settlers, and the legend of Thismia Americana.
The album concludes with a series of short talks about various aspects and plans going on in the area by knowledgeable people.
Also a wonderful version of the Lords Prayer by the Serbian choir at St.Michael Archangel church in 1947, and a kolo dance by the famous Popovich Brothers from the Calumet.
Acie Cargill has been called one of America's finest songwriters. This album is all done acoustically with stringed instruments and harmony singing by Acie's son Leo. Basically the music is contemporary folk music and is sold as Family Friendly. The artwork is by Julie Balite. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acie Cargill was born into a musical family. His grandmother was Hattie Mae Tyler Cargill, a noted Kentucky singer of traditional ballads. She was the last of the Tylers, a family noted for being strict preservationists of the musical traditions passed along for many generations from Northern England /Southern Scotland. The tunes that they sung all used primitive scales. They were unique in their area in that they played instruments along with the ballads and the instruments all used special tunings that allowed the ancient tunes to be played without adding obstrusive notes to the performance.
Acie knows all those scales and tunings and has been recorded for the Library of Congress, singing some of the old songs he knows and playing the 5 string banjo in the Tyler drop-thumb style. He is considered the living master of this style.
The family lived in very secluded areas without electricity and they were not exposed to the newer types of music that swept through the US that featured the piano or the guitar using the 6 string guitar chords that are so prevalent today. In the Tyler music, there are no 3-note chords, just moving modal melodies.
Some of this can be heard on Songs and Ballads of Hattie Mae Tyler Cargill, In The Willow Garden, Family Gathering (which featured some of the older Tyler musicians and the remants of the Cargill Brothers’ String Band and Acie playing the banjo as a young boy).
His grandfather was Acie Cargill, a fiddler who came to Chicago to play as a fill in musician with the WLS Barn Dance radio show. Many of the old tunes Acie plays were from the elder Acie via his Grandmother Hattie.
Acie’s father was an associate of Woody Guthrie and played harmonica in their jam sessions. Acie said his fondest memories were sneaking out of bed and hiding to hear the music they played late into the night when Woody visited. Acie’s mother was a church organist for 65 years and her instructions to him can be heard in the song Dear Mother ( for example, don’t you ever play gospel music in a tavern).
It was the exposure to Woody (and also his mother’s playing) that led Acie into learning the chorded guitar styles that he usually plays today in his performances. In public Acie plays folk music, bluegrass, old-time standards, traditional country music, progressive country rock, early rock and roll, old-timey, gospel, and he even played bass for contemporary jazz giants Max Brown and Johnny Frigo.
Acie's cousin, the late Henson Cargill, was a national star with his hit song Skip A Rope. And through one of the Tyler women, Acie is related to country giant Willie Nelson.
He also is a prolific songwriter and has recorded over 400 of his songs available on the internet. His music has been heard in almost every country in the world and three times he has been put up for grammy nominations for folk music and his albums have been among the most played music on college and public radio folk music programs.