Neil Woodward

Neil Woodward Biographical Sketch

 Neil Woodward is Michigan’s Troubadour. 

For over thirty years he has shared folk music’s warmth and wisdom with Great Lakes audiences.  In such historic surroundings as Crossroads Village, Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Greenfield Village, and in schools and libraries lake-to-lake, his vast repertoire and enthusiasm bring to life the Michigan experience for people from around the world.

Neil Woodward is recipient of 2018 State of Michigan Heritage Award "in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Michigan's cultural heritage."

In 2003 the Legislature of the State of Michigan officially named Neil Woodward Michigan’s Troubadour in recognition of his life long commitment to preservation of Great Lakes folk music and culture. 

The Arts Foundation of Michigan (now ArtServe Michigan) with their Creative Artist Grant Award recognized Neil’s own compositions as continuing contributions to the troubadour’s tradition, an artistic chronicle of significant individuals and events.  His songs, recordings and concerts have earned him nine Detroit Music Awards.  His traditional recordings are catalogued by the Library of Congress Office of Folklife, Smithsonian Folkways, and by the Archives of the State of Michigan.

Neil is a course guest lecturer for Michigan, Eastern and Wayne State Universities.  He is a Faculty and Presenter member teacher of Smithsonian Associates.

Neil’s experience in performance, research, writing, arranging, theatre, audio and video production, and his widely acknowledged skill with over a dozen musical instruments offer a unique perspective to his many private students.  His school programs bring our culture into focus for pre-school through college level.  In venues as diverse as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Michigan Historical Center, Detroit Institute of Arts, Northern Michigan campgrounds and lighthouses, and community schools and libraries of Alpena, Ann Arbor, Brighton, Byron, Copper Harbor, Charlotte, Davison, Detroit, Flint, Hartland, Howell, Kentwood, Lansing, Montague, Ossineke, Paradise and Ypsilanti, Neil’s performances pay tribute to light keepers, immigrants, laborers, sailors, soldiers, teachers, mothers, fathers, lumberjacks, railroaders, farmers, hobos, auto workers, dancers, singers, musicians and dogs.

Neil may be the only person alive who played both banjo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Jew’s harp at Lincoln Center.

Recordings by Neil Woodward on BLACK DOG RECORDS

We Were Fearless, 2021

My Huckleberry Friends, 2016

Warm Winter Night, 2009

Way Of The Rail, 2007

Michigan-I-A, 2005

Peace TROUBLES, 2001

Old Timers, 1999

A Cup Of Kindness music for the season of joy, 1997

In The Year Of The Dog, 1994

Life, Love and Food Songs, 1992

Dog Songs and Other Distractions, 1989

Crossroads Serenade, 1986

Also featured as multi-instrumentalist:

Woody Guthrie’s American Song Original Cast Album


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