"This work...is monumental."
-- Alice Gerrard, Old Time Herald
"This is the best and most important work
to appear in a long time. Everyone who loves fiddle music must own these CDs
-- David Allen, traditional banjo/fiddle player, Pig Ankle String Band, Dallas, TX
The site centers around the book Dear Old Illinois by Garry Harrison and Jo Burgess. The book presents some 750 items of traditional music from downstate Illinois, from the two most significant collections on the subject, the David S. McIntosh and Garry Harrison collections.
The title of the book is that given for a song collected by D.S. McIntosh around 1950. A bit of research revealed it to be a version of "In Dear Old Illinois," written by Terre Haute, Indiana native Paul Dresser and published in 1902. Mr. Dresser was a prolific writer and composed the Indiana state song, "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away". It seems he may have had designs of authoring his second state song.
Though not a traditional song by strictest definition, the subject is certainly fitting, and it did manage to make its way into the song list of at least one traditional singer. The version from the McIntosh collection is featured in the book. Click on the Illinois-shaped button above to hear an instrumental string band version of it.