Michigan-based historian Bill Jamerson will present “It’s Daylight in the Swamps” at noon Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the Waupaca Area Public Library’s Lunch & Learn.
Call the library’s main desk at 715-258-4414 to reserve a spot for the hour-long program. A light lunch will be served.
“It’s Daylight in the Swamps” is what the cooks at lumberjack camps shouted at the men to wake them up in the morning.
With guitar in hand, Jamerson sings traditional lumberjack songs and tells stories and tale tales about life in the lumber camps. He takes his audience on a musical journey with songs about working in the woods, living in a bunkhouse, the hardships of river drives, the importance of camp food and going into town in spring.
In camp, lumberjacks entertained themselves in the evening by reading, sewing, playing card games and telling tall tales. Jamerson shares several of these stories, including the legend of the “side hill gulger” and the feared “hoop” snake.
He explains how many of the lumberjacks saved money to purchase land and bring family members over from the old country. Most lumberjacks aspired to be farmers to escape the hardships of working in the camps all winter.
Jamerson performs traditional songs that were passed from camp to camp and state to state. One of the songs he sings is “A Lumberjack’s Life,” which tells of the hardships of working in the cold.
“Jack Haggerty” is the story of a broken-hearted river man from Greenville, Mich., and “Men at Play” explores the revelry when lumberjacks blew into town.
“A Shanty Boy in the Pines” tells of the many jobs in the woods while, “The Ballad of Jimmy Hale” is about a young man who met an early death. “Pete Bateese” is about a Frenchman who always gets in trouble, and “Shanty Boy Wins” tells of the rivalry between farmers and lumberjacks.
The songs range from foot-stomping jigs to soulful ballads.
Jamerson’s musical programs contain stories of strength, wit and charm and are appropriate for people of all ages.