A Brand New Take: American Folk Songs for the Family

— RESOURCE REVIEW from Community Works Journal

Finally a songbook for young people that brings alive the core human life lessons of the deepest traditional American songs, from deep Memphis blues to the sounds of a New Orleans second line, and onto locales far west. Walter Tragert has created a uniquely wonderful resource for classroom teachers, home schoolers, and everyone in between — hands-on folk songs — with a teachers guide soon forthcoming.

This impressive and connective collection of classic American folk songs and accompanying songbook, full of the known and obscure, makes each tune come alive as something always brand new. The collection filters traditional folk tunes like “Oh! Susanna,” “Li’l Liza Jane,” and “Skip to My Lou” through Tragert’s broad musical palette as well as his long trail of memories. Walter’s history with “The Donut Song” dates back to his very first paid gig, as a boy with empty pockets, he sang it for the ice cream man and was compensated with two pieces of sour apple bubblegum. Those personal connections to the songs themselves led Tragert to create a companion songbook to his new disc, complete with lyrics, chords, musings, stories, life lessons, and art for each.

When not touring across the heartland of the U.S. and internationally as far afield as Japan and Europe, Tragert taught music to pre schoolers in Austin, Texas for many years until retiring recently to focus on this new project. He says that he’s “been blessed with the great privilege of teaching music to families with young children.” “It’s been a dream job for me and by far the most rewarding and meaningful experience of my life”. This was the logical next step. Walter says he’s happy to think of the impact this collection could have on kids with music falling out of favor in public education. We agree! learn morepurchase online


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