“Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs included in the tradition of a culture, subculture, or group.” -From Wikipedia.
Seth Bernard was born on April Fools Day and raised by a pack of wild coyotes on the high-desert plains outside of Lake City.
What? No desert outside of Lake City, you say? Fine.
“The truth is that he was born to woodland fairies from the Great Woods of Northern Michigan, and it is said that the Great Woodland King gifted him with joy of music and set him among the humans to promote peace and joy in song and fellowship,” claims Laura Hanthorn.
Brett McDowell has a slightly different story:
“He lived with the Garden Gnomes for thousands of years. He learned about the plants and the trees and the earth. But one day, he learned music. As he picked up his guitar everyday to play, he slowly began to grow. Grow and grow until he was a giant. The gnomes thought that he had become some kind of great spirit. Then, after the elder gnomes had further discussion, they found that the late night jams, morning sessions, brunch hoe-downs, lunch parades, afternoon gatherings, dinner dances, and loud rock & roll every day was too much for the gnomes to handle. So, after long discussion, they decided to send him to live with the humans and other animals of the forest. And to this day this musical gnome travels around, sharing his music with all of us.”
Others share a popular (or soon to be popular) conspiracy theory: Seth was placed by aliens amongst us to promote sustainability and peace, thus the title “Hello Fellow Travelers” on his first album.
Or maybe he grew up on a farm where music entwined his early years. “It wasn’t anything separate that was just for entertainment. It was part of our work; it fueled our work,” Bernard told Circle of Blue in a 2012 interview.
Regardless of where he might have come from, or if he is even human, some facts are indisputable. We are not sure where to find those, so we collected some psuedo-facts, myths, rumors, and otherwise.
UnTrue Facts About Samuel Seth Bernard
(Editor’s note: these untrue facts may, in truth, be true facts. We don’t know.)
- He starred in the cult-classic Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island, filmed in our very own Frankfort, Michigan. Rumor has it that he sometimes wears an eye-patch and became besties with Earnest Borgnine.
- His beard has a beard.
- In some traditions, he is known as St. Bernard of Njarðvík and is credited with driving the woodchucks out of Iceland.
- His father solved the Russian Hopscotch Mystery of 1959 with nothing but his fiddle.
- Most freshwater dolphins consider Samuel Seth Bernard to be their spirit animal.
- In his spare time, Seth restores classic vehicles, often retrofitting them with airborne or aquatic capabilities.
- The beard is fake.
- He fully supports the procrastination of sloths.
- Once drafted to the Toledo Mudhens, Seth set his sights on a position in the major league with the Tigers when he suddenly realized he could have a greater impact in trading baseball cards than being on them.
- He once ran a marathon, because it was “on the way.”
- One parking ticket… never again.
- He was your first high school crush. (Editor’s note: not the actual quote.)
- He has “in the gym” range. (Editor’s Note: We think this means he can probably dunk from anywhere on the court. Or shoot a three, if he doesn’t feel like showing off.)
- He had to have his jaw widened as a teenager. Also used to wake up every Saturday morning to watch Pee Wee’s playhouse. (Editor’s note: Cowboy Curtis was really cool.)
- There is a library of books in his old barn apartment on his father’s farm, and he has read every one of them. Abraham Lincoln (a distant relation to Christ) is his distant relative. Stay literate, my friends.
- When he snores, it sounds almost exactly like the laughter of a mogwai. (Editor’s note: my personal favorite.)
Stories of the People
Folklore is the stories and music of the people; it is the music of a place, of its people, of its traditions.
Seth Bernard is a folk musician. He’s a storyteller, a joker, a trickster, a builder of new communities, and a warden of the old communities. He is kind, warm, and welcoming. At times, he’s a road-weary musician, wizened and weathered by a world needing change. Most days, he lives up to, and transcends, all of the myth and legend surrounding him.
If you tell him how great he is, he should quote a line from the movie that he starred in (yes, that one was true).
Instead, he’ll smile at you, say thank you, and ask what you’ve been up to, or about that song you are working on, or that new paper you are publishing. Yeah, he’s that guy.
Also, his alter ego is a lightning bug.
Banner photo courtesy Nathan Meadows with wonderquest.us.
See Seth play tonight at the Cabbage Shed celebrating the release of his new album “Reconciliation and the Mystical Beyonda”.
He’ll be playing with serious rock dudes Joshua Davis from Steppin In It, Max Lockwood from Big Dudee Roo, and Gregory Stovetop all the way from NYC. Josh and Stovetop will serenade the crowd first and then get behind the keyboards and drums, respectively, for the duration. $5 cover at the door. 9pm.