Songs of the Session

In an effort to recreate and honor a tradition that was begun back in 1957, when Frank Hamilton would teach the same song to different levels of players, we proudly present The Songs of The Session.

Each session two songs are chosen, one from the songbook and one from the general repertoire. All classes are encouraged to learn these tunes and apply the skills they are working on at their individual levels.

March - April 2018

"Liza Jane"

Awaiting spring here in the schizoid months of March and April, we turn to page 80 in our new songbook for a song making its first appearance. Distinguished teaching artist Jacob Sweet picked "Liza Jane." He is featured in the video along with Resource Center manager Colby Maddox. The tune has origins in the post civil war oeuvre of African American stringbands. The song form is ABBC where A is the verse, B the chorus, and C the iteration of an 8-bar melodic theme usually played on fiddle. Known to many as "Poor Liza Jane," there are loads of verses. Pick a few and write some more!

Chart for "Liza Jane"


"Joe Hill"

Joe Hill (aka Joseph Hillstrom born October 7, 1879) was a Swedish-American labor activist who became a popular songwriter and cartoonist for the I.W.W. He was executed on November 19, 1915, and remains a hero to working folks everywhere to this day. The song was written in 1933 by Earl Robinson based on a poem by Alfred Hayes. Many of us remember the song from Joan Baez's performance at Woodstock during the turbulent late 1960s. Through the years, there have been recordings by Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger, Utah Phillips, and Bruce Springsteen. Baez returns to Chicago on October 5.

Chart for "Joe Hill"

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000