A lively and enlightening slice of Illinois's rich musical heritage Although few are aware of it, the state of Illinois has some of the richest and most varied musical traditions in the country. As a major agricultural producer bordering the South and situated on the nation's major waterways, Illinois became home to styles now called folk, country, country blues, bluegrass, gospel, and string band. At the same time, as an industrial center, Illinois attracted workers from all over the United States, Europe, and Mexico. These migrants brought their music with them, and the state also became home to Irish reels, Scandinavian waltzes, Serbo-Croatian kolos, Polish polkas, country western ballads, labor anthems, Mexican corridos, and ethnic comedy skits. The recordings chosen for these volumes are all performed by Illinois musicians, and include selections drawn from new studio recordings, archival collections, 78s, LPs, and CDs, as well as field and home recordings made by folklorists, amateur scholars, and family members.
Volume 1 offers a selection of Illinois's best folk music. Its artists include Carl Sandburg and the Staples Singers, the 1930s WLS National Barn Dance artists, the Girls of the Golden West, and 1920s country-bluesman Henry Spaulding from Cairo. There are also tracks from well-known alt-country stars like Jon Langford from the Mekons, Janet Bean from Eleventh Dream Day, and Kelly Hogan. Added to that are songs from folk legend Art Thieme, Decatur's Deacon James Biggs and the St. John Missionary Choir, labor songster Bucky Halker, and Tejano balladeers Silvano Ramos and Daniel Ramirez.show more