Jeff Warner is among the nation’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. “Providing more than just rich entertainment, Jeff will leave you with a deeper appreciation of the land you live in” (Caffé Lena, Saratoga, NY). 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, he represents a tradition that is fundamentally unbroken since preindustrial times” (Stuart Frank, Senior Curator, 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 “he inhabits a song in a way which few singers can do” (Royal Oak Folk Club, Lewes, UK).
A native of New York City, Jeff has lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire since the late 1990s. He is a speaker for New Hampshire Humanities and an artist for the New Hampshire Council on the Arts, a former Arts Council Fellow, and a 2013 Performing Arts Honorable Mention.
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 is a founding officer of Folk Alliance International, a producer of the Portsmouth (NH) Maritime Folk Festival and past president of the Country Dance and Song Society. In 2016, CDSS honored Jeff’s dedication to the world of traditional folk music with their annual Lifetime Contribution Award.
Jeff and his brother, Gerret, have created a multi-media show about the Warner collection — From the Mountains to the Sea — available in the US and the UK. Information on the program can be found at the Mountains to the Sea website.
“There are three requirements of a good performance: awesome music, the sharing of knowledge, so that the audience leaves knowing something they didn’t before, and the chance to laugh. You gave us all three; you nailed it!”
“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.”
“The Saturday evening performance you did is one I’ll never forget. You’re a real treasure.”
“My favourite Americana musician.”
“Jeff is my nominee for the best folk singer in America. He has a mischievous sense of humour, he plays most any instrument you can name, and his repertoire is encyclopaedic, ranging from black gospel to shanties to music hall. In a time when most folk singers rarely sing a folk song, Warner sings, almost entirely, old songs.”
Copyright © 2001-2023 Jeff Warner