In 1916, the poet, journalist, biographer, musicologist, and orator Carl Sandburg published his collection, Chicago Poems, to great acclaim. Written in the wake of the city’s industrial boom and under the specter of the Great War, Chicago Poems contains the hopes and dreams of the era, while also relaying the ideals, desires and frustrations ingrained in everyday life. The work helped establish Sandburg as a poet of the people.
To celebrate the centenary, David Nagler brings his musical adaptation of Sandburg’s poetry to Joe’s Pub for two consecutive nights with a ten-person ensemble including drums/percussion, piano, acoustic guitar, accordion, horns, woodwinds, and a string quintet. Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems features sixteen of Sandburg’s poems re-imagined as a song cycle. The compositions draw on a wide variety of American music: folk, jazz, rock, classical, and musical theater.
The forthcoming studio recording of Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems, co-produced by film composer Max Avery Lichtenstein (Tarnation, Jesus’ Son) and co-arranged by Jon Natchez (The War on Drugs, Beirut), will feature the added vocal participation of Chicago-based musicians including Robbie Fulks, Jon Langford, Sally Timms, Kelly Hogan, Daniel Knox, Nora O’Connor, and others.