Joseph Brackett was a Shaker leader born on May 6, 1797 in Cumberland Maine. Many individual Shaker members wrote songs which are still sung today. One of the most popular (and I think most lovely) Shaker songs was written by Elder Joseph Brackett . It is called Simple Gifts. It has been classified as a hymn or a work song but it is better classified as a dance song. This song extols the blessings of living a simple life.