“The American Songbag is a ragbag of strips, stripes, and streaks of color from nearly all ends of the earth." - Carl Sandburg
In 1927, Carl Sandburg published a collection of songs and wrote that: "These songs come from the hearts and voices of thousands of men and women. They made new songs, they changed old songs, and they carried songs from place to place.”
Drawing on Sandburg’s premise that “songs tell our story” Michael J. Miles has created a decade by decade musical portrait of America in the 20th century.
In this musical documentary for the stage Michael performs songs made famous by some of America's greatest 20th Century singers and songwriters including Billie Holliday, Woody Guthrie, Cole Porter, Buddy Holly, George Gershwin, James Taylor and others. The performance of this one-man stage show features virtuoso guitar, banjo, and vocals.
In addition to music, American Songbag presents a wealth of spoken content that illuminates the fiery politics, rich literature and amusing popular culture of 20th Century America by weaving the words of the day into its dramatic narrative.
American Songbag Menu
While American Songbag generally covers 1900-1975, the production has a unique modular format that allows Michael to customize the performance to emphasize specific periods or historical themes. A few examples of how American Songbag can be tailored:
• Vietnam Era
• 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s or 60’s
• Civil Rights
• Songs of Protest and Struggle
• Great American Composers
American Songbag is designed to be staged in a variety of ways, from elegantly simple lighting-only presentations to more lavish productions involving stage dressing.
"Just to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands...let me forget about today until tomorrow." - Bob Dylan
Jack of Diamonds with audience participation.