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May 21, 2022

Troubadour of Crossroads Village Michigan: Neil Woodward

Troubadour of Crossroads Village Michigan: Neil Woodward
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Troubadour Neil Woodward is an instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and folk historian who helps preserve Michigan musical traditions. He is often heard at historic Crossroads Village, Michigan, near Flint in the summer months.  

Neil holds the title -- State Troubadour. In 2003, the Michigan Legislature officially named Neil Woodward Michigan’s Troubadour in recognition of his lifelong commitment to preserving Great Lakes folk music and culture.

Besides Woodward's performances at Genesee County's historic Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad, he spends some of his summer days as a musical performer while strolling around Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan.

During this episode, Neil Woodward performs and discusses four of his songs; "Engine 464", the "Swampin' of the Genesee Belle," "... say No?!" and "Peach Tree Creek". These songs are Flint, Michigan, historical songs, which you will also hear from time to time at Crossroads Village, Michigan, while Neil is at work.

  • The song "Engine 464" details the history of Engine 464 of the Huckleberry Railroad located at Crossroads Village, Michigan.
  • The "Swampin' of the Genesee Belle" is a story about a paddleboat that submerged on Mott Lake during its maiden voyage at Crossroads Village, Michigan.
  • The song " ... say No?!" is about Flint, Michigan, and its legendary autoworkers. He painfully describes the pressures Flint autoworkers felt in the 1990s from the forces of globalization and the threats of losing their jobs to Mexican factories.
  • Peachtree Creek is a Civil War song that tells the story of a Flint, Michigan, soldier wounded in Sherman's March to the Sea (Battle of Atlanta). Troubadour Neil Woodward is the recipient of the 2018 State of Michigan Heritage Award "in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Michigan's cultural heritage."

Most of Neil’s work focuses on preserving Michigan's songs in the troubadour tradition, from Great Lakes sailor shanties to lumberjack songs.



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