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"The Voices of the Chesapeake Bay Interview Project is created to help  us further develop our 'sense of place.'  The Voices Project is ongoing, inherently 'inclusive' and well-rounded, giving us the ability to see our bio-region, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, from a variety of perspectives 
and points of view. With this ability we can fully and truly appreciate this incredible place called the Chesapeake Bay." 

Michael Buckley, Project Director

(Read the full interview)

Voices of the Chesapeake Bay


The Chesapeake Bay Watershed

We use this discussion page to record suggestions and to engage in a public dialog regarding the merits and various aspects of the Voices Project. Anyone 
is welcome to submit suggestions, questions and ideas via email to: voicesofthebay@aol.com

Dear Mr. Buckley,

My name is Nicole Sauder. I am in fifth grade at James Buchanan Elementary
School in Lancaster, PA, and I am very interested in the Chesapeake Bay. I
have gone to the Echo Hill Outdoor School with my class twice, and I went on
an Echo Hill 5-day canoe trip on the Chester River this summer. Also, my
family and I have been to the Eastern Shore many times.

I am doing a project for school on the Chesapeake Bay, and Dr. Robert Lippson
recommended I get in touch with you.

My project is on the role that the arts (poems, music, stories, etc.) play
(or played) in the lives of the watermen on the Bay.

I looked on the Internet, but didn't find very much. Dr. Lippson thought you
might be able to help me. Could I talk to you about this subject? Is there a
story there?



Michael's reply:

Hi Nicole,

One of the reasons that I recently put together this new website, www.Voicesof theChesapeakeBay.org is to help people like you who want to learn more about our beloved Bay. There is a page on my website that lists many of the recordings inspired by the Bay. It's called Bay Music. One of the things I found out about the Bay last year is that the Chesapeake Bay watermen didn't really have a tradition of using music in their work. Maybe they just like the sound of the Chesapeake without music. Maybe they just listened to the radio when that became available. Mostly though, I think the reason was this. The Chesapeake Bay is a pretty calm place compared to say the fishing grounds off Massachusetts. In the North Atlantic men used songs to sing to create a cadence for their work. These fishermen of the North Atlantic fished with great nets and they had to have a way to work very closely together. The music helped them to haul the net in sync with each other. Kind of like the marching music in the Wizard of Oz which helps soldiers to march in spite with each other..."Oh-ee-Oh, Ee-o-Oh..." I believe that many of the watermen of the Chesapeake worked more in very small teams, or by themselves.

This is not to say that there wasn't any use of music by watermen. There is an 84 year old waterman who works as firstmate on the Stanley Norman skipjack. As you may know, the skipjacks were used to dredge oysters (about thirteen of them, out of about two hundred, still work the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, dredging for oysters.  This man's name is Earl White. His birthday is celebrated each year by the City of Annapolis as "Earl White Day" and Governor Glendenning has given Earl the title of "Admiral of the Chesapeake." Earl is a waterman who also has a love for the music called "the blues." Maybe you can set up a chance to meet Earl and talk to him about his work as a waterman and his blues music. I'll bet he will play a tune or two for you, if you ask him nicely. Earl works now as an educator on his beloved Stanley Norman. The old skipjack is going to turn 100 years old next year and Earl wants to be there workin' when that birthday comes. At that time, Earl says he will finally retire.  You can contact Earl through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The phone number is on the "Voices" website under links: Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

There is another guy I found who is from Tangier Island, VA. He was a waterman when he was growing up. His name is Davy Crockett and his family is very famous among the islanders. Davy now uses his workboat as a ferry boat to bring passengers back and forth to Tangier Island. Davy Crockett likes some modern music and plays for his passengers sometimes. He likes Jimmy Buffett a lot. Davy also writes songs about the Chesapeake Bay, sometimes making them up right on the spot! He's a great guy and you can find him by going to Crisfield, MD where his boat leaves each day for Tangier Island. I have some songs by both Davy and Earl that they recorded for me last year when I interviewed them for the Voices of the Chesapeake Bay series. If your parents want to help you to buy these CDs for your project, I can send them to you. They are ten dollars each and the money helps the Voices of the Chesapeake Bay project to continue.

I also know that there were net fishermen from southern Virginia who had songs they used in their work. One of these songs can be found on the CD Southern Journey: Velvet Voices; a song called the Menhaden Chanteys by the Bright Light Quartet.

There is music sometimes used as a spiritual uplift for the women who worked (a few still do) in the crab picking houses in Crisfield, MD.

There is a skipjack captain from Tighlman Island who sings too, but I haven't recorded him yet. I'm going to try to do it soon. Maybe you can be there, if you want to. It's possible, I think.

I hope this helps you out. If you find anything more out you can let me know and I'll put it on the website if you want. It will be interesting to see what you come up with. The best way to find out about watermen is to talk to some of them yourself. Since the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay was harvested between 1900 and 1950, there are still a good number of watermen with us.

Good luck on your paper and your research. I find that researching stuff is really amazing. It's a great way to keep learning. Don't be dissuaded because the searching can be a little tough sometimes. That just makes you feel better when you find stuff. One more thing: write a note to Janey Meneeley at Chesapeake Bay Magazine about this subject. I think she wrote an article on the music of the Chesapeake Bay last year. She also sings and tell stories about the Bay in schools. Janey is the Editor of the Chesapeake Bay Magazine. I think I have a link on our Voices website for them too.

You can also find out about Bay stories, poems and song by contacting Tom Wisner at Chestory.  He is a musician and knows about some amazing poems and songs of the Bay.  There is one man that wrote stories about living on the Bay named Gilbert Byron.  Find his books in the library or at the book store.  Ask Tom about the poems.  Also, look under Bay Music on the Voices website for a CD by a group called Chesapeake Scenes.  They have stories and songs that you will enjoy about the Chesapeake Bay.

All the best. Thanks for being so interested and excited about this great and amazing place where we live, the Chesapeake Bay.


Michael Buckley, Host/Producer
The Sunday Brunch on 103.1 WRNR
Sundays 7am-10am each week

Dear Michael,

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I just discovered your, "Voices Of The Bay," web site and had to drop you a line. First of all, thanks for including a link to my, "Stinkpot & Rags," web site. I really appreciate it. I have some updated news for you that I am excited about and I hope you find interesting. My new CD entitled, "Boat Logic," is completed and is in the duplication stage as I write this. It is once again composed of songs, (13 of them,) that were influenced by my experiences and love of being, "out on the water." Since the release of my first CD I have vastly increased my cruising grounds and have traveled by boat from the Keys to Martha Vineyard with stops at many points in between. I think that aspect of my life is reflected in some of the songs on the new CD. The Chesapeake Bay is still my home port though and much of my music has it௲igin of influence here. Two of the new songs, "Annapolis," and "Pfiesteria," are of course directly related to the Bay. You might find "Pfiesteria," especially interesting in that it touches upon that particular problem as well as the Bay௶erall health. 

As I said, the CD is in the duplication stage at the moment and it will probably be about two weeks before I have the completed packages in hand.  You can also get more information about it by going to http://www.BoatLogic.com. I೴ill working on the site but it is coming along. Actually what I튠 doing is developing that site along with http://www.BruceMyersMusic.com and tieing the three of them together, (Stinkpot & Rags too.)  I will of course be adding a link to your site!!

I젬ook forward to hearing your new series either way and it৲eat to have someone dedicating the time to focus on our wonderful resource.


Bruce Myers

Michael's reply:  "Thanks, Bruce!  We love to hear new music inspired by the Chesapeake Bay.  Please send me a copy of your new disc.  I'm happy to let folks know that it's coming.  Best regards.  Sincerely, michael buckley

Bruce Myers performing at the recent
Songs of the Chesapeake Bay Concert
Photo: John Bildahl

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Voices of the Chesapeake Bay
The book

Click to order

Fifty-three life stories.  Amazing people from all walks of Chesapeake Bay life.

Includes: former Maryland Governor Harry R. Hughes, "Presidential Medal of Honor" recipient Russell Train, Univ. of Maryland Center for Environmental Science president Donald Boesch, ESPN Chief Sailing Commentator Gary Jobson, farmer & mayor Russell Brinsfield of Vienna,MD, Queenstown historian Harry Rhodes, author/ fisherman Bill Burton, author Tom Horton, Chesapeake Bay Foundation V.P. of Education Don Baugh, Maryland Watermen's Association president Larry Simns, and many more. (464p).  

Voices Radio Project 

Broadcast as part of 
The Sunday Brunch 
on 103 WRNR-FM
Each week

Click here to "Listen Now"

Sponsored by

The Boatyard Bar & Grill

The Keith Campbell Foundation 
for the Environment

C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at 
Washington College

16 Songs - 16 Artists
3 Grammy Winners!

The only CD of its kind,
bringing together a range of
Chesapeake Bay artists and songs in a variety of styles.

Featuring Bruce Hornsby (Williamsburg, VA), Tom Chapin (Upstate NY),  Al Petteway (NC), Deanna Dove (North Beach, MD), Tom Wisner (Lusby, MD), Earl White (Dames Quarter, MD), Magpie (Takoma Park, MD), Them Eastport Oysterboys (Eastport, MD), Bruce Myers & Crew (Baltimore, MD), Dan Haas & Robin Jung (Annapolis, MD), Mike Garfinkel (Edgewater, MD), Robbin Thompson (Richmond, VA), Mike Aiken (Norfolk, VA), Dominick Murray (Baltimore, MD), The Geckos (Annapolis, MD), and The Millers (Tilghman Island, MD)

$10 plus $2 shipping 
Purchase by check made 
out to:

Songs of the Chesapeake Bay
1131 Bay Ridge Road
Annapolis, MD 21403

Michael A. Buckley/Voices of the Chesapeake BayAll rights reserved. 
For questions regarding this website contact [voicesofthebay@aol.com]