The Roadhouse: Woody Guthrie and the Columbia River Songs

photo by Robin Carson

“26 songs in 30 days”

That’s the story of Woody Guthrie and the Columbia River Songs, Greg Vandy’s three-hour special program focusing on the legendary folk singer and his time in the Pacific Northwest, originally broadcast on September 26 in the Roadhouse, is available on the Streaming Archive until Oct 10th. (Listen Now!)


On this show, you’ll hear the 17 surviving Columbia River Songs, versions by other artists and lots of special guests who provide insight and details to Woody’s experience in the Great Pacific Northwest. Greg also will send you on an audio road-trip to the “Eighth Wonder Of The World,” “The Biggest Thing Man Has Ever Done,” The Grand Coulee Dam in the eastern Washington.

“Pastures of Plenty from a Dust Bowl”

It was a rare & fortunate convergence of folksinger and a Great Public Works Project in 1941. This show tells the story of Woody and the Columbia River Project, which was an answer to many of those hard travelin’ during the Great Depression. Woody was hired to promote the government’s plan to bring cheap public-power to the masses and to irrigate the dry lands of Eastern Washington, in order to give people a little bit of work and a little bit of hope.

Barton Carroll, Shane Tutmarc and Levi Fuller
photo by Ron Henry

Throughout the program, you’ll hear live in-studio performances of Columbia River songs from local artists Levi Fuller, Barton Carroll, and Shane Tutmarc who do amazing performances of “The Biggest Thing Man Has Ever Done,” “Pastures Of Plenty,” “Hard Travelin’,” and “Oregon Trail.”


And, you’ll hear the first-ever issued live recordings of Woody Guthrie, just released by Woody Guthrie Publications to benefit the Guthrie Foundation. The Live Wire consists of 1949 recordings from the Newark, New Jersey YM-YWHA (like the YMCA) for an audience of about 25 people. The community concert/demonstration was discovered a few years ago and just made available after miraculous audio restoration of old “wire” recordings. Listen to Woody’s dialogue with his second wife Marjorie, as well as versions of “Grand Coulee Dam” and “Tom Joad.” You can get it directly from the Woody Guthrie Foundation.

This Week, Wed 10/3: We recognize the 40th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s passing after a 15 year bout with Huntington’s Disease. And at 7pm, Billy Joe Shaver will perform solo and acoustic in the Roadhouse.

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One Comment

  1. ghavami
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 6:12 am | Permalink


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