On today’s episode of State of Water, we feature a musical collaboration, rooted in friendship, that honors the deep history of the Great Lakes while sharing a love of water that drives a conviction to act boldly in the present. Ben Traverse is a guitarist, singer and multi-instrumentalist who has a passion for American traditional folk music. He is also a core member of the Earthwork Music Collective, and a behind-the-scenes M.V.P. for Michigan’s music community. Inspired by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and many more folk heroes, Ben creates eclectic mixtures of story and song. Michael Dause is best known as the drummer for the phenomenal band The Accidentals. He is a prolific songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and recording engineer apart from the band, and he releases his own immersive music under the moniker Treeskin. These two unique Michigan artists joined forces in 2019 to record an album of both traditional and original Sea Shanties. The album, entitled “Songs of the Lakes, Rivers and Seas, Shanties, Forecastle Songs and other Maritime Ballads,” is affectionately referred to as Shantyland. This past Fall, Ben and Michael met up with Title Track Co-Executive-Director Seth Bernard at Earthwork Farm, where the duo recorded around half of their collaborative album. The three friends discussed how this rich history informs their action in the present, and the urgency that clean water issues demand in 2022. We hope you enjoy their conversation, as well as multiple exclusive debut live recordings of some of the Shantyland songs – performed in the Barn at Earthwork Farm.

State of Water is a program of the Michigan-based non-profit organization Title Track, and is powered by the Clean Water Campaign for Michigan. The podcast is made possible through a generous contribution from the Esperance Foundation.

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EPISODE 27 credits:

Ben Traverse and Michael Dause interviewed by Seth Bernard

Produced, edited and mixed by Dan Rickabus

Narrators – Alex Smith, Ben Darcie, Dan Rickabus, Jenny Jones, Angela Gallegos, Rachel Marco-Havens

Graphic by Dani Renwick of Charmellow Design

Theme Music – Mike Savina, Seth Bernard & Dan Rickabus

Featured Music – “Erie Canal,” “Haul Away Joe,” and “Marquette Bay” by Ben Traverse and Michael Dause: Live at Earthwork Farm

Featured Background Music – “Half-Frozen River” by Dan Rickabus