Northwoods Songs Blog

whitepinepinusst 1899 crop 2 enhanced

Map showing the original distribution of White Pine in North America. Found in the 1899 book The White Pine by V.M. Spalding.

Northwoods Songs features a traditional folk song each month pulled from my research.  As a Minnesotan, I am particularly drawn to material connected to my home state.  I am also interested in the Irish influence evident in the repertoires of lumbermen and Great Lakes sailors across the northwoods region (which I think of as the historic white pine belt stretching from New Brunswick to Minnesota). Most of the songs here show that influence one way or another.

This series is simultaneously published (in a somewhat edited version) in the newsletter of the Irish Music and Dance Association.

—Brian Miller (dadgadguy at g mail)



  1. Down in Yonder Valley (March 2017) with video by The Winterm’n
  2. The Apprentice Boy (February 2017) with video by Buddy Ferrari
  3. What a Time on the Way (revisited) (January 2017) with video by The Lost Forty

2016 (Lost Forty Project Year)

  1. Shanty Man’s Life (December 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  2. The Hunter’s Death (November 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  3. Vandiemens Land (revisited) (October 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  4. Lost on the Lady Elgin (revisited) (September 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  5. Persian’s Crew (revisited) (August 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  6. Heenan and Sayers (July 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  7. Lovel (revisited) (June 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  8. Jerry Go Oil the Car (revisited) (May 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  9. To Work Upon the Railroad (April 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  10. The Crafty Miss (March 2016) with video by The Lost Forty
  11. The Clipper Ship Dreadnaught (revisited) (February 2016) w/ video by The Lost Forty
  12. A New Name and a New Project for 2016 (January 2016) 


  1. The Brown Girl (December 2015) with video
  2. Kettle River (November 2015) with video
  3. The Three Nations (October 2015) with video
  4. Hibernia’s Lovely Jane (September 2015) with video
  5. The Bold Privateer (August 2015) with video
  6. Georgian Bay Ho Ho (July 2015) with video
  7. My Dear Irish Boy (June 2015) with video
  8. Molly Bawn (The Irish Girl) (May 2015) with video
  9. Caroline of Edinburg Town (Apr 2015) with video
  10. St. Patrick’s Day (Mar 2015) video by guest singer Norah Rendell
  11. Ye Noble Big Pine Tree (Feb 2015) with video
  12. The Pitcher of Beer (Jan 2015) with video


  1. You Rambling Boys of Pleasure (Dec 2014) video by guest singer Norah Rendell
  2. The Clipper Ship Dreadnaught (Nov 2014) with video
  3. Barney Blake (Oct 2014) with video
  4. Lovel (Sep 2014) with video
  5. Down in a Salley Garden (Aug 2014) with video
  6. The Bigler’s Crew (July 2014) with video
  7. You Pretty Girls of Michigan (June 2014) with video
  8. Drummond’s Land (May 2014) with video
  9. Persian’s Crew (Apr. 2014) with video
  10. Ned McCabe (Mar. 2014) with video
  11. We Are Anchored by the Roadside, Jim (Feb. 2014) with video
  12. Lonesome Hours of Winter (Jan. 2014) with video


  1. Banks of the Nile (Dec. 2013)  with video
  2. The Banks of Boyne (Nov. 2013)
  3. What a Time on the Way (Oct. 2013) with video
  4. The Lass of Dunmore (Sep. 2013)
  5. Johanna Shay (Aug. 2013)
  6. Vandieman’s Land (Jul. 2013)
  7. Shanty Boy (and the Farmer’s Son)  (Jun. 2013)
  8. Bold Daniel (May 2013)
  9. The Smugglers of Buffalo (Apr. 2013)
  10. As I Rode Down Through Irishtown (Mar. 2013)
  11. Lost on the Lady Elgin (Feb. 2013)
  12. Young Sally Munroe (Jan. 2013)


  1. The Falling of the Pine (Dec. 2012)
  2. Jerry Go Oil the Car (Nov. 2012)
  3. Lost 1924 Recordings of Singer Michael Cassius Dean Rediscovered (Oct. 2012)
  4. The Day That I Played Baseball (Sep. 2012)
  5. The Roving Irishman (Aug. 2012)
  6. Morrisy and the Russian Sailor (Jul. 2012)
  7. The Flying Cloud (Jun. 2012)