“A seasoned performer, Bobby Horton is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer, and music historian. For more than thirty-five years he has traveled throughout The United States and Canada performing with the musical-comedy group Three On A String. He has also produced and performed music for ten films by Ken Burns, including ‘The History of Baseball’, ‘The Civil War’, ‘Lewis and Clark’, and ‘Mark Twain’, two films for The A & E Network, plus seventeen film scores for The National Park Service. His series of “authentic” music from The War Between the States has been acclaimed by historical organizations and publications throughout America and Europe.”
In 2003, I had the privilege of creating the musical soundtrack for “On The Edge of Gichigami: Voices From The Apostle Islands.” This inspirational film by Ms. Ann Tubiolo is shown regularly at The National Park Service Visitor Center of The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Lake Superior.
Presented here are expanded versions of the tunes I played on the soundtrack. Some are traditional melodies that were popular with the people who lived in the area, while the others are my own compositions. Like all my other recordings, I created these arrangements, played all the instruments, and recorded here in my home production studio – hence the “Homespun” in the title.
A WALK IN THE FOREST (Bobby Horton) I wrote this song in 2002
while working on music for The Great Smoky Mountains Visitor Center film. Ann chose this cut as the introductory music for The Apostles film.
STORIES TO TELL (Bobby Horton) The combination of natural beauty with remnants of homesteads, abandoned logging camps, abandoned fishing vessels, old rusting farm implements left by residents in bygone days tell stories of lives “made” on these unique islands.
LAND OF REST (trad.) This melody of a popular 19th century folk hymn represents the pioneer spirit of the people who lived and worked here in a bygone era.
OPUS 10 (Bobby Horton). The most significant old growth forest in the Lakeshore area is on Outer Island. These two hundred acres of white pine and hemlock were set aside by the federal government as reserves for the lighthouse stations on Lake Superior. These reserves were “off limits” to loggers—today these ancient forests are magnificent and inspirational.
FIDDLIN’ANNIE (Bobby Horton) / RED IRON ORE (trad.). Over the years, lighthouses were built as needed for the ship traffic on the lake. The lighthouse keepers led a lonely existence as they provided their vital service. The typical season began with the arrival of the keepers in the spring and ended as they left the islands at the coming of winter when the ice flows halted shipping.
RED IRON ORE (trad.) / MELODY 1-17-03 (Bobby Horton). As the country experienced an economic boom during the industrial revolution of the 18th and early 19th centuries, the lake saw an enormous increase in shipping. Due to violent storms, many sailors lost their lives as they plied these waters.
THE PERSIA’S CREW (trad.) The Apostle Islands have provided a living for many generations of family fishing operations. These hard working, small businessmen have a tough life, but life on the lake “gets in their blood” and many would not consider doing anything else for their living. This traditional tune has been played by the people in this area for many, many years.
FIDDLIN’ ANNIE (Bobby Horton) The folks at The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore found a very old photograph of four men who are either loggers or fishermen sitting in straight chairs. Two of these men are holding concertinas, one is holding a fiddle, and the fourth is holding a banjo. I wrote this happy little melody in the style of a dance tune from the area and named it for the producer of the film, Ms. Ann Tubiolo (who is a happy “full of life” lady—who happens to be a mandolin player). I imagined these four fellows in the photograph playing this tune while they beat their feet on the hardwood floor.
DRIVING SAW LOGS ON THE PLOVER (trad.) The abundant forests on the islands brought loggers to the island in the 19th century. These hard working men developed successful logging businesses that sustained then and their families for many years.
PRISTINE (Bobby Horton) The Apostle Islands offer unspoiled natural beauty. The pristine conditions found here create safe havens for many different species of birds, a large variety of plants, flowers, and trees.
BRIGHT CANAAN (Rev. John Moffett) / INTERLUDE (Bobby Horton) Rev. Moffett wrote this folk hymn around 1842 and it became very popular throughout the entire country. I chose one of my tunes for use as the film depicts people canoeing and kayaking. As the people explore the magnificent caves on Devil’s Island, I play this quiet guitar interlude to depict the solitude and natural beauty of these caves.
LADY OWEN’S DELIGHT (trad.) Generations have been coming to the twenty two islands that make up The Apostles to fish, hunt, or picnic on the lighthouse grounds. As the film beautifully depicts ladies playing croquet during The Victorian era, I chose this traditional waltz to capture the feel of this gentile time.
APOSTLES #1 (Bobby Horton) From the beauty of the flora and fauna of the spring and summer, to the many and varied colors of autumn, to the beauty and grandeur of the ice caves in winter, the Apostle Islands are uniquely beautiful in all seasons!
OPUS 10 (Bobby Horton) The Apostles effectively tell stories of nature’s resiliency as she reclaims the land where people have left their “footprints”. The islands also tell stories of man’s struggle to survive in this magnificent yet sometimes harsh environment.
BESIDE BROWN WATERS (Bobby Horton) The sound of wind blowing through the trees, the beautiful songs of the large bird populations, the feeling of communion with long-gone residents of the islands while viewing their abandoned farms, vacated homes and buildings, old logging camps and fish camps, the beauty of the shores where water meets land; the magnificence of the many old lighthouses – all make The Apostle Islands truly special!
STORIES TO TELL (Bobby Horton)