Oh! That Low Bridge!
A lifelong collector and performer of traditional songs, George Ward draws on the rural singing tradition of the American Northeast for his main inspiration. Ancient ballads migrant in the New World, songs of the rural home and hearth, songs of the lumber woods, the rivers and canals are central to his repertoire. They are joined by songs of social movements, the Down-Rent Wars of nineteenth century New York, the American Revolution, and by comic songs from a variety of traditions. George's writing includes contemporary songs, often in traditional style, dance tunes and other explorations for a variety of traditional instruments and soundtracks for a number of film and television productions. He is best known for traditional and original music soundtracks for no less than four productions telling the story of the Erie Canal, created over a twenty-five year span of waterways research. A folklorist by academic training, George and his wife, Vaughn Ward, have been active for over thirty years in the documentation and public presentation of source artists, the true tradition-bearers within whose families and communities traditional arts are carried on. The Wards' productions of recordings, concerts, exhibits and festivals of traditional artists earned them one of only two Evergreen Lifetime Achievement Awards ever given by Traditional Arts of Upstate New York.