Seventy-five years ago, folk player and American songwriting icon Woody Guthrie spent time in Portland recording a series of songs about the Columbia River and the people of the Northwest for the Bonneville Power Administration. Seventeen of those songs were originally recorded, some that have become legendary examples of American history, such as “Roll On Columbia,” “Hard Travelin’,” “Grand Coulee Dam” and “Pastures of Plenty.” But there were still nine more written that have not seen any release up until this time. To recognize Guthrie’s groundbreaking work, author Greg Vandy will release the book 26 Songs in 30 Days along with the recordings of several Northwest musicians who gathered to record all twenty-six of the songs. These musicians include former BPA official and folklorist Bill Murlin, Seattle’s International Blues Challenge winning duo Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, singer Jon Neufeld, and the band Timberbound, the latter two hailing from Portland, among other artists. Beginning in May, there will be numerous book and concert events taking place honoring the Northwest music of Woody Guthrie and influences that will continue throughout the year.
It will all start on May 9, at The Lake Theater & Café, 106 N State Street in Lake Oswego with a concert and story-telling featuring Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons along with Timberbound. Show time is 7:00 pm. General admission tickets are $20.00 and may be purchased in advance at latketheatercafe.com.
This concert will be followed up by a presentation at the Columbia River Historical Center in The Dalles, Oregon on May 20 and events at the Grand Coulee Dam on May 28 and at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle on May 30.