Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems is a new musical project from singer/composer David Nagler, a song cycle that sets Sandburg’s poetry to music in an assortment of styles.
Carl Sandburg’s collection Chicago Poems was published 100 years ago in 1916. Including well-known poems like “Chicago” (“Hog Butcher for the World / Tool Maker / Stacker of Wheat”) and “Fog” (“The fog comes / on little cat feet”), the collection was highly-regarded for its style, topicality, and immediacy, and helped establish Sandburg as the “people’s poet.” Sandburg would go on to be known as the definitive Renaissance Man: poet, journalist, biographer, musician, and orator.
The album weaves together a variety of influences: folk music (Carl Sandburg was the compiler of the influential collection The American Songbag); American orchestral composers such as Aaron Copland and Charles Ives; Americana pop singer/songwriters such as David Ackles, Randy Newman, and Van Dyke Parks; and Chicago's still-thriving live music scene, where open-minded musicians intertwine rock, country, free jazz and countless other genres every night of the week.
David Nagler is the musical director for Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders at City Winery, where he has played with over 100 different artists including Rosanne Cash, Aaron Neville, Fred Armisen, Steve Earle, and Andrew Bird. He was the “feral choir” conductor and arranger for the Mekons on their new album/book/video Existentialism. He is also the host of The Oracle Show at NYC piano bar Sid Gold's Request Room, and the founder and frontperson of NY metropolitan area pop group Nova Social.