Tall tales came out of hard times and inspired many early western folk songs. The folk music of Kansas and Missouri popularized stories of steamboats, railroads, outlaws, superstitions, and natural disasters, many of the songs brought to the frontier by 19th-century settlers seeking greener pastures and other tunes arising from life experiences on the plains. They were passed down from generation to generation, and a number were documented and preserved during the Great Depression as part of the WPA’s Federal Music Project and Federal Writers Project.
Folk singer and autoharp virtuoso Adam Miller recalls that era, weaving a selection of songs and stories into a performance focusing on the Show-Me and Sunflower states. An accomplished folklorist and historian, Miller also is a collector who has amassed more than 5,000 traditional folk songs.