He Sent Us Up the Spout (unknown, 1899). This protest song was spawned by the uprising of miners in the Coeur d'Alene Valley of northern Idaho in 1899 that led to the dynamiting of the Wardner mine concentrator. The incident also resulted in Governor Steunenberg requesting Federal troops to subdue the miners. Excesses by the authorities, including wholesale incarceration of men in the infamous Wardner "bullpen", caused tremendous ill will and led to the assassination of the ex-governor at his Caldwell, Idaho home in 1906. This song is most unusual, however, because its vitriol is directed not against the mining company and legal authorities, however, but against union leaders who escaped into Montana. According to the song, the latter were living in relative luxury while the average union man was stuck in a hole somwhere. The rendition here by Gary Eller (lead vocals, guitar, banjo) was made at his home at Pickle Butte and the home of Beth Wilson in Idaho City. Would be union miners Rue Frisbee, Rick Ardinger and Johnny Thomsen added their voices on the refrains to create a sound that might have been heard in a north Idaho bar at the time.


Cold Springs Waltz (Karl J. Erickson and Minnie Erickson Parkins, 1901). This lovely waltz was found at the Ilo-Volmer Historical Society at Cragmont, Idaho. The writers were homesteaders and fiddlers from the Cragmont area. The rendition here consists of an unrehearsed piano interpretation by Sean Rogers of Boise from the handwritten score shown at right. Gary Eller added banjo in the three-finger style that was popular over one hundred years ago (predating the bluegrass banjo style by many decades). This rendition appears on the CD/booklet High Tone Music of Idaho (2010).



© Slim Chance Music 2010. This page was last updated on February 21, 2010.