Folksongs of Northern Utah & Eastern Idaho on Friday's AU

Apr 11, 2014

Noted musicians/musicologists Hal Cannon and Gary Eller are searching eastern Idaho and northern Utah for songs written before the radio era (before 1923) about the early people, places and events of the region. Such songs provide unique glimpses of the early culture of the region.

 During the day, Cannon and Eller are scouring museums, libraries and private collections for songs directly related to early east Idaho/north Utah - everything from handed down oral tradition to handwritten lyrics to formal sheet music.  In the evenings, they are sharing the regional music they have found through musical programs. They’ll be in Brigham City and Logan on Friday & Saturday.  Their concerts are Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Brigham City Fine Arts Center and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Whittier Community Center in Logan. Hal Cannon and Gary Eller with join Tom Williams for Access Utah in UPR’s Studio B for conversation about folklore & music and to perform folksongs of northern Utah and eastern Idaho. Join us from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. You can join the program as well. Especially appreciated will be early regional songs or stories you may know.

Gary Eller, of Nampa, is an Idaho-based songwriter, musician, author and musicologist.  He leads the Idaho Songs Project. The Project’s mission is to find, interpret and preserve songs written before the radio era (before 1923) about Idaho’s early people places and events. As a member of the Idaho Humanities Council Speaker’s Bureau, Gary travels Idaho presenting musical programs and searching for early Idaho songs. His collection of early Idaho songs now exceeds 200. Gary has played American roots music since childhood. He was born and raised in West Virginia but has lived most of his life in the American West. After a 30-year career in nuclear science and engineering at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, he retired to Pickles Butte near Nampa, Idaho, in 2004. He has been collecting and performing early Idaho songs ever since. Gary also plays banjo for the progressive bluegrass group Chicken Dinner Road.

Hal Cannon, of Virgin, is a Utah-based songwriter, musician, author, radio producer and folklorist. He has been playing music most of his life and has gathered together many original songs and traditional folk tunes and songs. He is best known, musically for his band, the Deseret String Band (a.k.a. The Bunkhouse Orchestra), the group made a specialty of researching and performing 19th-century music from the West. Hal currently plays with Phillip Bimstein’s Red Rock Rondo and also records with the Secondhand Band, a trio with Tom Carter and Jim Agutter. He is the founding Director of the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada, and its famous child, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Hal has published scores of books and recordings on the folk arts of the West including his best-selling anthology, Cowboy Poetry, A Gathering. In addition, he has produced numerous features for public radio and television, garnering a slew of awards, including the Will Rogers Lifetime Achievement Award, an Emmy, and three Cowboy Hall of Fame Wrangler Awards