This final podcast covers a lot of ground beginning in 1892 when Carrie and her family relocate from Nova Scotia to Newry, Maine. Over the next few decades she’s immersed in family life, and with the passing of her parents a dedication to recalling all the songs she’d ever heard her parents sing takes root. The 1940s peak for her as she’s recorded by prominent song collectors, regional folk festivals invite her to speak and sing, and she strives to secure the preservation of her family’s music through the assistance of Gould Academy. Disappointment and frustration follow as publication of her songbook fails to materialize. Nevertheless she is remains unsinkable in her determination to continue her work, and speaks through her letters of the immense joy she’s found in gathering her family songs and recalling childhood memories at Sunken Lake. Recorded at Green Frog Productions and Cloud Studio.
The fifth podcast focuses entirely on Carrie’s memories of her childhood at Sunken Lake where Carrie was raised and spent the first twelve years of her life. Included are stories of song singing with her family at home, and with neighbors and friends when they gathered in one another’s homes for a meal followed by music and dancing. We hear tales of sibling pranks and the fun they had together, and of her parents, George and Eliza Spinney. Carrie gives detailed accounts of how they made soap and summer hats, how they dyed their wool, and the long hours her mother spent knitting at the hearth. Fiddler Randy Miller plays tunes from Carrie’s collected fiddle tunes, Lisa Null sings Bonny Light Horseman and Remember the Poor, Sara Gray sings Molly Varne, I sing Consolation to Victoria Davies piano accompaniment, and So I Let Him/Her Go, and Carrie’s sister’s grand-daughter, Marie York, recites a poem written by her grandmother.
This podcast draws upon Carrie Grover’s earliest memories in rural Nova Scotia during the late 1880s. Through her detailed remembrances we come to know her immediate family and the details of their daily life. Present throughout her recounting is the music–their traditional folksongs, ballads and fiddle tunes. The following musicians recorded fresh song versions from Grover’s collection: Kate MacLeod sings two songs: “Dark Eyed Sailor” and “Mary’s Dream”; Niamh Parsons sings “Croppy Boy”; Nora Rodes sings “Lass Amang the Heather”; and Julie Mainstone Savas sings “James and Florence”. Carrie Grover sings a song she learned from her mother entitled “Bold Fisherman”; and a poem written by Carrie’s sister, Bertha, is read by Bertha’s granddaughter, Marie York.
Podcast #3 is chock full of stories depicting the lives of Carrie’s maternal and paternal grandparents and great grandparents, as branches of the family settle in at Sunken Lake during the first half of the 19th century. The podcast opens with Joan Baez singing Lily of the West, followed by folksinger Maria Gillard and fiddler Kit Fallon on Blind Beggar and Stormy Scenes of Winter. Folklorist and singer Stephen Winick performs Robin Hood and the Pedlar, and Paul Brady graces us with his famous Arthur McBride. Kate Marin relays the account of Carrie’s great grandfather’s escape from a press gang, and Carrie herself sings three songs: Servant Man, Sallie’s House, and Farmyard Song.
The second podcast takes us to Windsor, Nova Scotia in the early 1800s where Grover’s great grandparents lived during the years of great expansion and growth in the Canadian province. Carrie sings Captain Kidd and Sheffield Apprentice; Steve Amsden provides his version of What News from Ireland, Brave Mouse? and Anson Grover, Carrie’s great grandson, tells the accompanying family story to the song that landed his great great great grandfather in a heap of trouble. Randal Bays plays Till it is Clear Day on fiddle. I sing Silvery Tide (the version found in A Heritage of Songs) with Steve Amsden on guitar. Wally Bell reads an archived newspaper article; and Michael O’Mara reads about the Anapolis Highway, words provided by historian John Wilson. History of the roads comes from Joan Dawson’s book, Nova Scotia’s Lost Highways: The early roads that shaped the province.
The first podcast is an introduction to the Carrie Grover Project and how and where the journey all began for me. On the podcast, Carrie herself sings Prentice Boy, one of the songs from her great grandmother, and she speaks with Alan Lomax during a conversation recorded in April 1941. Carrie’s granddaughter, Callie Mills, reads the words Carrie wrote in the introduction to her songbook, A Heritage of Songs. Music is performed by folksong duo Anna and Elizabeth who sing Farewell to Erin (Grover’s version is Adieu to Erin), and Paul Brady performs his famous rendition of Arthur McBride. I express my gratitude to two scholars who provided invaluable guidance early on in the project, Joe Hickerson and Norm Cohen.