On Wednesday, May 25th, KEXP will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs with a day full of exclusive interviews, special programming on The Roadhouse on KEXP, and a live streaming video session with Bill Frisell, Gerald Collier, and John Doe.
The following evening, Thursday, May 26th, Frisell, Collier, and Doe will continue the tribute from the stage of Benaroya Hall, alongside Dave Alvin, Sera Cahoone, Shelby Earl, Ian Moore, Tim Easton, Gerald Collier, and former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn. While the focus of the evening is the songs Guthrie was commissioned by the Bonneville Power Administration to write during his stay at the Grand Coulee Dam, the artists have been granted free reign to cover other songs. In an interview with the Seattle Times, Frisell confessed that he’ll revisit an instrumental version of “Pastures of Plenty” that he performed at a Guthrie trbute two years ago at Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York.
“That song, I love,” Frisell told the Seattle Times. “It’s so beautiful. Maybe I didn’t listen to it carefully enough, at first, because I always connected it with John Steinbeck and ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and California. But then I realized, ‘Wait a minute, he’s talking about the Columbia River!'”
A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and His Month of Song also features a live chat with KEXP DJ Greg Vandy, author of 26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest, out now via Sasquatch Books.
Tickets are on sale now. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Woody Guthrie Center and SMASH (Seattle Musicians Access to Sustainable Healthcare).