CDs and DVDs
Earl Shaffer's Music and Presentations
During his life, Earl wrote myriads of songs that described topics from his time on the Appalachian Trail to his service in the U.S. military during World War II. In addition, he often gave presentations in his local community about his groundbreaking 1948 Appalachian Trail hike. These songs and presentations, as well as a video biography by his younger brother John Shaffer, are available for purchase from the Appalachian Trail Museum. Read about them and find the links to purchase below!
Earl's younger brother John Shaffer narrates this half hour video biography of Earl featuring Shaffer family photos from Earl's early years through his military service, his passion for writing poetry and music, and continuing from his historic 1948 first-ever Appalachian Trail thru-hike through his 50th anniversary thru-hike in 1998. This is a unique and intimate look at the background of the man who invented thru-hiking.
Earl himself narrates this 80-minute slideshow which illustrates his historic 1948 thruhike of the Appalachian Trail with photos taken by Earl during the hike. Shown to countless audiences by Earl during the 54 years he was alive following his 1948 hike, the slideshow is now available to purchase in DVD format. The images in the slideshow were processed by the Smithsonian Institution to enhance their clarity and preserve their quality. Earl gives details of all that he encountered and how he coped with the challenging conditions during his unprecedented 4-month odyssey. Also included on the DVD is footage of live TV interviews conducted with Earl during his 1998 50th-anniversary thruhike by the Today Show, CBS News and Fox News. The DVD also contains material not previously published, including the text of the journal he kept during his 1948 hike as well as his essay giving advice to long-distance hikers.
More than just a long distance hiker, Earl Shaffer was a poet, songwriter, folk singer and guitarist. The Foundation is excited to announce that a music CD of Earl performing some of his original work is now available. Entitled Always in April , the CD contains 17 of Earl's songs, including Long High Lonesome Trail, Allegro to the Sky, Always in April, Robin in the Rain, April Dawn, Laggards Lose, Molly-O-Roon, Chucky Blue, Owl at Twilight, Susquehanna Song, Garlands of Glee, Skies Oer the River, Erin Shore, Midnight Rain, Call of the Turtledove, Juniata Saga, and Perfect Song.
Discovered among a relative's estate, recordings of Earl singing many of the ballads he wrote while he was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II (and others he wrote after he returned home) have just been released in CD format. Entitled Trail of the Tropic Moon , the CD contains 15 of Earl's songs, including Trail of the Tropic Moon, Tongareva Lament, Vagabodage, Wake of the Sea, Keystone Pennsylvania, Old Smoky Ramble, Song of the Timberline, Skies Over the River, Didn't Seem to Care, Loon Yodel, Kinzua Death Chant and Wanderers Quest. New versions of Midnight Rain, Susquehanna Song, and April Dawn, songs on Earl's first CD, complete the new CD.
Though Earl is perhaps best known for his pioneering 1948 thru-hike and his subsequent leadership in maintaining the AT, he was also an accomplished poet who wrote more than a thousand poems. Unfortunately to date, only a few have reached publication. Now thru-hiking minstrel Takoma Tedd has distilled a number of songs from Earl's poetry, and performs them on this music CD published in 2004 by the Earl Shaffer Foundation.You can click on the song titles in the following paragraph to listen to a sample of each song on the CD. (If necessary, use your browser's "Back" button to return to this page.)
Earl sometimes referred to himself as the "Blue Ridge Runner," which is the name of the CD's lively title song. "Walking With Spring" is a song which Takoma Tedd arranged using the lyrical chapter quatrains from Earl's book chronicling his 1948 hike. Its haunting imagery of the trail from Springer north to Katahdin will resonate with anyone who's ever done or dreamed of doing a long hike on the AT. In "Mountaineer Manifesto," Earl expresses in a unique way his philosophy regarding material possessions and life's priorities. "Wanderer's Quest" describes Earl's idyllic vision of "that lone hidden valley... where life never changes... and only true kindness is shown." Other songs on the CD include "Calling Me Back to the Hills," "Robin Singing in the Rain," "Susquehanna," and "Kinzua Death Chant."