Barry Cloyd is continually researching and developing one-man presentations which focus on niches and historical time-periods, both obscure and well-known. These historical/educational/musical presentations and programs are a source of joy and have taken on increasing importance in his entire catalog of performances.
The following original one-man shows are available for immediate bookings.
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Barry Cloyd has developed a fascination for the poetry, music (yes, he was a musician) and story of this brilliant man, who from humble beginnings as the son of an illiterate Swedish blacksmith in Galesburg, Illinois, rose to become a two-time Pulitzer prize winner. Known around the world, Sandburg literally defines the essence of American life with his stunning free verse poetry and prose. He also was a serious folk musicologist. This show weaves together Carl Sandburg’s poetry, stories of Lincoln and American folksongs, including some of Cloyd’s original material, to bring to life one of America’s best loved poetic giants. Sandburg’s biographies and his own works are the primary source material. This presentation entertains and educates through story and song while providing broad insight into the values, history, spirit and solid work ethic of his beloved American people and their times.
This presentation, commissioned by Illinois’ Orland Park Library, humanizes the amazing story of the “First American”, Benjamin Franklin. His regard for America’s developing work ethic, indomitable spirit and unique position in the world is presented through the persona of his only surviving son, William Franklin. William, although imbued with a healthy respect for his world-renowned father, differed sharply in his political views. This conflict provides dramatic tension as Benjamin’s inventive genius, love of liberty and creative restlessness became the archetype for a new nationality, the American. Includes music penned by Ben Franklin, traditional and original music by Barry Cloyd.
The life, times and rough and tumble story of America’s balladeer, Woody Guthrie is brought to life by Barry Cloyd in this privately commissioned one-man original presentation. Guthrie’s stories and songs chronicle America’s human history of struggle, work and the hard-driving spirit that saw our country through the Dust Bowl, the Depression, WW II and the McCarthy era with it’s Black List. Cloyd is a consummate folk musician that brings all the passion of the man who wrote, “This Land is Your Land” and hundreds of other songs that have become such a significant part of our national heritage to life.
The blues was born a long way from the cotton fields, the sharecropper’s shacks and juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. The blues was born a long way from the legend of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the Devil and the 12 string guitar riffs of Barbecue Bob and Huddie “Ledbelly” Ledbetter. The blues was born in all of humanity a long time ago. Join Barry as he traces the route of the blues, in story and song, from Africa to New Orleans and up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Chicago and the world beyond. The Blues is still some of our most popular and passionate music, and loved the world over.
Time-travel back to the days of knights and chivalry in this educational/musical program. Learn how the discoveries and inventions of that most misunderstood of time periods, the Middle Ages, have made a major impact on our lives today. Barry touches on many important periods of Middle Ages history and utilizes various musical instruments, both well-known and obscure to animate the period music in this program. You’ll never look at ancient history the same way again.
From Colonial times to the Great Depression, this medley of song and story can present either an overarching journey through time or a focus on a single period of American history, such as the Civil War, sod-busting pioneer days, the steamboat era, the westward migration or many others. Based on Carl Sandburg’s collected volume of American folksongs, The American Songbag.
In the mid 1800’s, at the time of the “Great Hunger”, sometimes known as the Irish Potato Famine, the Mid-West was the western frontier of America. The influx of Celtic/Irish people in those times literally changed the face of America as they arrived seeking freedom and work on the great construction projects of the era. Their presence and stories still have an impact on our lives today. Through ancient myth and song as well as some original pieces, Cloyd presents the history and heart of the Celtic people who came to the Mid-West in search of liberty and opportunity.
Journey down the inland waterways of the American Mid-West with Etienne Renault, a historical French fur trapper/explorer known as a Voyageur, who traveled with Rene Robert Sieur de LaSalle and Henri di Tonti down the inland waterways in the late 1600’s. Travel with these rugged men as they blaze an undiscovered trail and gamble everything on the chance to find what lay around the next bend in the unexplored rivers of what was the wild western frontier.
Discover the rich history, in story and song, of the Midwest’s tall-grass prairies. This program focuses on several eras of prairie history. Barry takes you behind the scenes of the pre-historic periods, the glacial episodes and the Native Americans. In addition, the heroes and rascals of the riverboat times, our rugged pioneer ancestors and that most Midwestern of icons, Abraham Lincoln, the young man and the Civil War President are brought to life.
Known as the lifeblood of our land, the Midwestern Rivers, such as the Mississippi (Great Father of Waters), The Illinois, The Ohio and The Missouri were the original highways of the Midwest, utilized by all our ancestors. From the first people, the Native Americans, to our own use of these waterways today, the rivers are an incredible source of story and song and continue to be as important as ever in shaping the destiny of the central portion of America. Join Barry in tracing their history in story and song.
Barry provides his personal take on life as a performing artist. These insights go far beyond the life of a musician to focus on the motivation and passion needed to succeed in a musical career.