A few weeks back, hand-tool woodworker, luthier, musicologist and performer Aaron Keim sent us a book and CD he and his wife, Nicole Keim, published to encourage people to learn and enjoy some work songs. Titled, “Let the Work I do Speak for Me,” the book (and CD) is a collection of 14 tunes (some traditional, others more contemporary) with a brief history of each song, the words, chords and tabs, plus links to tutorials.
Aaron plays the ukelele and banjo (and makes them), so many of the songs include the tabs and tuning for those instruments – but I pulled my Martin D1 out of the back of my closet to see if I could pick out a few tunes, and had no trouble (other than than the self-inflicted trouble of almost never practicing my guitar, and the resultant sore fingers).
It’s a fun project, and thanks to the hand lettering (by Nicole), it feels folksy and personal – as it should.
Check it out – and hear some of the Keim’s music – at quietamericanmusic.com.
And if you want to read a bit about work songs, check out this page at the Library of Congress.