Red Barn

Adam Miller

Folksinger, storyteller, and autoharp virtuoso Adam Miller presents a free sing-along program of Folksongs of the American Labor Movement, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, at the Livermore Library, 1188 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore. Arrive early for the best seats. For more information call (925) 373-5573.

The program features folksongs about the people who built America and their struggle to improve the conditions of their labor. “The American Labor Movement was a singing movement,” Miller said. “Our children don’t have little brothers and sisters working in the mills and the mines. Our grandparents and great-grandparents – working people like you and me – organized and joined unions. The unions broke the backs of the sweatshops in this country. That’s why we have child labor laws. That’s why we have a middle class. That’s why we have the eight-hour day. Those were not benevolent gifts from enlightened management. Working people fought, bled and died for those laws.”

An artist whose kind has dwindled to an endangered species, Miller is a renowned old-school American troubadour and a natural-born storyteller. He is the recipient of the prestigious 2019 Storytelling World Award. One of the premier autoharpists in the world, he is an accomplished folklorist, song-collector and raconteur, who has amassed a remarkable repertoire of more than 5,000 songs.

Traveling 70,000 miles a year, Miller performs more than 200 concerts annually in 48 states, from the Everglades to the Arctic Circle. More than 1.5 million students have attended his singing school assembly programs. He’s performed live in more than 2,000 American public libraries.

• Bluegrass Breakdown said, Miller's "voice and autoharp weave a melodious tapestry...and he has a perfect cowboy out-on-the-range voice."

• A reviewer in Melbourne Beach, Florida, said that Miller’s presentation is “even more accessible than most good folk music. His stories are not the boring once-upon-a-time kind, but rather keep you in a constant state of suspense, and his gentle, building guitar chords heighten it. It's all about how folk music lives on through oral tradition and has a kind of betcha didn't know you've done it too kind of theme. It will charm even the most die-hard of iPod loving kids or reluctant significant-others.”

Miller began his lifelong pursuit of collecting old songs while still in grade school. Armed with an audio-graphic memory and a kaleidoscopic musical curiosity, his childhood ambition was to learn every song he heard.

Today, with a repertoire of thousands of tunes, his traditional folk songs and ballads are the songs of America’s heritage, a window into the soul of our nation in its youth. A performer who enlightens and entertains, he points out fascinating connections between events in history and the songs that have survived.

In a contemporary musical landscape with singer-songwriters and their often short-lived offerings, Miller’s iconic, traditional ballads and folk songs are timeless. They evoke a bygone era when most music was homemade.

Miller explains it this way, “Folksongs travel through history. History travels through folksongs.”