June 02, 2020
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susan brew | BDN
susan brew | BDN

Folk singers Sara Grey and Brian Miller will perform “Songs From The Logging Camps” in concert at the Phippsburg Congregational Church on Friday, November 11, at 7:30 p.m. The program will showcase songs that migrated from Ireland to the logging camps of New England, Canada, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

A featured performer of traditional song in the US and Britain for more than 40 years, Grey is a celebrated singer and player of the five-string banjo. She has appeared on the BBC and performed at hundreds of venues and festivals in the U.S., the U.K., Europe, and Australia.

Equally at home with a gentle lyric or a harsh account of life on the frontier, she is also a fine storyteller specializing in stories from New England where she learned many from her father, many of which she passed on to Maine’s own celebrated storyteller, Kendall Morse.

Grey’s rare and extraordinary trove of traditional songs were gleaned from a lifetime steeped in traditional music on both sides of the Atlantic. Now living in Maine, she grew up in New Hampshire but has lived in many parts of the U.S. and the U.K. As a child in North Carolina she first heard mountain music and her love for old time banjo music and songs was born. In a rich musical career now spanning four decades she has continued to study folklore, collecting and performing traditional tunes and songs from the various areas in which she has lived.

Brian Miller joins Grey in reviving the Irish-influenced songs of men who roamed the Great Lakes region in the days “when pine was king.” As a member of the acclaimed Irish traditional group Bua, Miller has toured throughout the U.S. and Canada. His love of his home state of Minnesota led him to the rich but under-explored musical traditions that were once shared by “woods” singers throughout North
America’s historic pine forests.

Miller also performs with his duo The Lost Forty. Their 2013 album “The Falling of the Pine” was a follow-up to Miller’s “Minnesota Lumberjack Songs.” In 2016, Miller launched The Lost Forty Project to celebrate and make accessible long lost “old growth” songs found on a set of forgotten field recordings from his home state. The songs included ones about logging, railroading, deer hunting, and Great Lakes shipwrecks, as well as old Irish ballads and even older English ballads dating as far back as the 1680s.

In the Phippsburg concert with Grey, Miller will perform songs from the Lost Forty Project and from his other forays into the rich singing traditions of the pine woods.

The concert will be performed at the historic 1802 Phippsburg Congregational Church, situated on the banks of the Kennebec.

The Phippsburg Congregational Church is located at 10 Church Lane (at Parker Head Rd.) in Phippsburg. Tickets are available at the door. Admission is $12.00; students and children $8.00 (children under eight admitted free). Refreshments will be served. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. For more information call 389-1770.