The folk duo Castlebay (Julia Lane & Fred Gosbee) invites the public to celebrate the publication of their new book “Bygone Ballads of Maine- Songs of Ships & Sailors” on Sunday, July 24 at 4 p.m. with a FREE BYO picnic, sing-around, and concert under the tent at the Sail Power & Steam Museum in Rockland. 

For over 10 years the pair have been harvesting songs from collections made in Maine from 1900-40. A good many of these songs are maritime ballads, rather than work songs, and make reference to historic events such as launchings, record passages and tragedies of various kinds. Others can be traced back to roots in the British Isles and Ireland. These songs and their popularity underscore the importance of Maine’s maritime heritage. 

Lane & Gosbee have transcribed the songs and lyrics from field recordings and manuscripts made by collectors who ranged throughout the state interviewing people in their homes, at lumber camps and on board ship. Their resulting transcriptions provide a wonderful spectrum of songs reflecting the sense and sensibilities of ordinary people. With the intention to create a resource for singers, folk music enthusiasts and educators alike, the 300 page book includes music and lyrics for 165 songs well as historic notes and information on resources .

Pauleena MacDougall, PhD, author, editor, and former director of the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine stated, “Not since Joanna Colcord published ‘Roll and Go’ in 1924, have we seen such a comprehensive compilation of songs from the sea as this one. Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee have brought forth not just the songs, but so much important contextual information, such as a map of the location of singers, the source of the song, the melody to which the song is sung, and editorial notes that compare songs with other known versions, or similar songs known by different names.  This is a book that will be a treasure to singers, but also to folklorists, ballad scholars and historians. The authors have exceeded their goals to create a song book. They have created a volume that will stand proudly on library bookshelves next to books by Phillips Barry, Fannie Eckstorm, Joanna Colcord and other ballad 

The party will take the form of a BYO picnic and “sing-around” under the tent on the grounds of the museum. Throughout the evening Lane and Gosbee will sing their versions of some of the songs they have found in their research alternating with fellow musicians’ contributions. Everyone is invited to share a seafaring song with no special skills required. Admission is free though donations will be gratefully accepted. 

Capt. Jim Sharp, co-founder of the Sail, Power, and Steam Museum remarked, “SPSM is a museum that celebrates our maritime cultural heritage, and we are also long-time cheerleaders and supporters of local musicians.  We are so excited to have this celebration held on our grounds as fits so well within the mission of our organization.” 

The museum encourages visitors and residents alike to check out their website for future concerts being scheduled this season: For more information,  contact Castlebay at 207-529-5439 or