Timberhead Music is the outlet for the musical and literary works of Gordon Bok. Bok was born in raised on the coast of Maine and was immersed in the world of the watermen and the sea. From them he learned chanteys and ballads. He took traditional instrumental and dance music from the region and arranged it for guitar. He began to compose his own songs and stories honoring the maritime tradition, expanding on what he learned from others. He also began to write choral works. Some have been performed in Europe. He also has taken interest in the music of the Kalmyk Mongolians and is helping promote and preserve it. Over his career he has recorded 36 albums and two books of his writing. Material culture has also been part of his life creating folk art in wood.
His first album was released in 1965 on Verve/Folkways (a division of MGM). In 1970, he began a long relationship with Folk-Legacy Records owned by Sandy and Caroline Paton. Based in Western Connecticut, its catalog was strong in the music of New England and the Maritimes. For them he would record a large body of songs, many his, and stories and myths from the sea like “Jeremy Brown and Jeannie Teal”. He has been an active collector of folk songs from around the world. At the same time, he toured as a trio with Anne Mayo Muir and Ed Trickett. They created some of the most popular titles in the folk genre, including the Minneapolis Concert.
In 1986, Bok started the Timberhead Music label. There would be 18 albums on Timberhead including two new titles by Bok, Muir and Trickett. Timberhead would also release albums by Helen Schneyer and Bob Stuart. One of the final issues was a concert performance of Gordon with Bob Zentz from 1979. He has continued to work on his art, living in Camden, Maine.
The collection of Timberhead Music was donated to Smithsonian Folkways in 2023 joining his other albums from Folk-Legacy. They will continue to be distributed in all digital forms and remain in print in perpetuity for everyone to enjoy.
A few recordings from Timberhead Music are below. Click here to access the whole catalog.