Vermont's Disputatious Statesman Matthew Lyon Will Be Focus Of New Musical

Apr 4, 2018

Vermont history buffs may know the name Matthew Lyon, but a Burlington singer-songwriter hopes to make the rowdy Vermont statesman more of a household name by making him the focus of a full-length musical.

The Irish-born printer, farmer and American politician fought in the Revolutionary War with the Green Mountain Boys. He was among the early founders of Fair Haven and was elected to serve in the Vermont Statehouse and later the U.S. Congress. Legend has it that Lyon sold one of his printing presses to the founders of the Rutland Herald.

In 1798 Lyon was found guilty of violating the Alien and Sedition Acts and did time in prison. He went on to have the dubious distinction of being the only member of Congress re-elected from his jail cell.

This last kernel of history stuck out to Burlington singer and songwriter, John Daly - who after doing research on Lyon, felt compelled to write not only a song about him, but a full-length musical. John Daly spoke with VPR's Nina Keck about the historical figure that so captivated him and the new musical he’s writing that pays tribute to "The Spitting Lyon."

Broadcast Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.