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Woody Guthrie in the Pacific Northwest/The Columbia River Songs

Community Lecture Series

Woody Guthrie in the Pacific Northwest/The Columbia River Songs


A presentation by Michael "Hawkeye" Herman 

Hosted by Three Rivers Folklife Society

Come and listen to Michael "Hawkeye" Herman’s interpretations of Woody Guthrie's songs on vocal and guitar, historical background accompanied by photo images, as well as stories and anecdotes on Guthrie's life and times spent in the Northwest. In May 1941, folk singer Woody Guthrie spent one month working for the federal government. His job was to travel to the Pacific Northwest and write songs promoting huge hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. It is sometimes hard to believe that one month in the life of a twenty-eight-year-old Oklahoma-born folk singer could have a lasting impact on an entire geographic region, but such is the case with Woody Guthrie in the Pacific Northwest. The Bonneville Power Administration hired Woody as an “Information Consultant” to work on a film meant to publicize and promote the Columbia Basin Project and hydroelectric power. The documentary never came to fruition, but the 26 songs he wrote during that period were some of his most famous songs, such as "Roll on Columbia," (which became Washington's State Folk Song in 1987), "Grand Coulee Dam", "Hard Travelin’," and "Pastures of Plenty."
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