Jeff Warner

Last here in 2014, Jeff Warner is among the USA’s foremost performer/interpreters of traditional music. His songs from the lumber camps, fishing villages and mountain tops of America connect 21st century audiences with the everyday lives–and artistry–of 19th century Americans.  As one American  national newspaper declared, “Providing more than just rich entertainment, Jeff will leave you with a deeper appreciation of the land you live in”.

His songs, rich in local history and a sense of place, bring us the latest news from the distant past. Jeff grew up listening to the songs and stories of his father Frank Warner and the traditional singers his parents met during their folksong collecting trips through rural America. He accompanied his parents on their later field trips and is the editor of his mother’s book, Traditional American Folk Songs: From the Anne and Frank Warner Collection.

He is producer of the two-CD set, ‘Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still’, the Warners’ recordings of rural singers, many of them born in Victorian times.  “The scion of one of the nation’s most eminent families of folksong collectors, Jeff Warner represents a tradition that is fundamentally unbroken since preindustrial times” (Stuart Frank, Curator of New Bedford Whaling Museum).

Jeff has performed widely, from large festivals in the UK, to clubs, festivals and schools across America. He plays concertina, banjo, guitar and several “pocket” instruments, including bones and spoons. And , as one UK critic observed,“he inhabits a song in a way which few singers can do”. He has toured nationally for the Smithsonian Institution, taught at Pinewoods, Ashokan, Augusta and Swannanoa summer music programs and recorded for Flying Fish/Rounder, WildGoose (UK) and other labels. His 1995 recording Two Little Boys received a Parents’ Choice Award.

“Jeff’s one of the most welcome of the fairly frequent visitors to these shores from the US, and his gigs are always eagerly awaited and supported by those in the know. Quite simply, he’s one of the most charismatic, enthusiastic and genuinely versatile performers on the whole scene, with a warm and approachable personality to match his encyclopaedic knowledge of traditional song.” (David Kidman, Netrhythms UK).

Southwell Festival