The Johnson Girls Live In WSHU’s Studio A

10 p.m. to Midnight Host: Steve Winters

The Johnson Girls Live In WSHU’s Studio A I welcomed The Johnson Girls for their first visit to WSHU Public Radio and “Profiles in Folk”. The Johnson Girls, an all-woman, mostly a cappella folk music group whose emphasis is maritime music, formed in 1997 at the close of the annual Sea Music Festival at Mystic Seaport. They are unique in that they have burst through the barrier of a previously male-dominated musical genre and have established themselves as one of the finest sea music groups in the world.

For this live, 75-minute appearance, three of the four Johnson Girls were able to be in our studios — Alison Kelley, Bonnie Milner and Deirdre Murtha. Unfortunately, Joy Bennett, the fourth member, had work commitments and could not join us, but we inserted a few songs from the group’s CDs that featured her singing.

The discussion was wide-ranging, extending from a basic primer on sea songs to what the future holds for maritime music in this technological era. And their live music — well, it was simply sublime. The Johnson Girls have recorded three albums, available through Folk-Legacy Records. WSHU Chief Engineer Paul Litwinovich was again the “man behind the glass” mixing sound.

You can find out much more about the group at

Above: Alison Kelley, Deirdre Murtha, Host Steve Winters, and Bonnie Milner.

The Johnson Girls Live In WSHU’s Studio A:

“Heave Her Up”
CD: “Weary Cutters”, The Johnson Girls, Independent Release “Sun Down Below”
CD: “Mary, Come Join The Religion”, Fire Down Below, Folk-Legacy Records “Rolling Down The River”
CD: “Mariner’s Hymn”, On The Rocks, Folk-Legacy Records

Listen to the live portion of the show

The remainder of the evening's show:

  • Artist, "Title", Album, Label

  • The NexTradition, “Bonny Light Horseman”, “Early In the Morning”, The NexTradition, Independent

  • Dan Milner et al, “Lily Of The West”, “Lord Bateman”, Irish Ballads & Songs Of The Sea, Folk-Legacy


  • Shipping News, “The Fisherman’s Wife”, “The Bergen”, Wives’ Tales, Dog Watch Records

  • Pride Of New York, “Slan le Maigh”, Pride Of New York, Compass