Woody Guthrie’s American Song

Sat, 09/09/2023 - 4:00pm

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    What's the Buzz" covers what's happening, what might be happening, and what should be happening in the opinion of the author.

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"Woody Guthrie's American Song" will be presented by River Company under the Direction of Torie DeLisle at The Porter Room at Skidompha library.

On Friday October 6 there will be a “pay what you can” preview at the Peace Gallery in Damariscotta at 7:30 pm.  Performances continue at Porter Room on Sat Oct 7, Sat Oct 14 at 7:30 and with one matinee on Sunday Oct 15 at 3 pm. Tickets on sale at rivercompany.ticketspice.com/woody or at 207 449 2943. Tickets are $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for youths

My father Curtis Cady Busby was on the road as a young man with his trio, The Monument Mountaineers. They hitched rides from Housatonic, Mass to Chicago’s A Century of Progress World’s Fair in 1933–34.  They played across to the Fair and along the way, often alongside a man who became a legend, Woody Guthrie. I was lucky to have a father who not only lived life hard and full and joyously but shared it in his stories to his children. I grew up singing the songs  and stories of the great depression and am honored to now be part of a production of “Woody Guthrie’s American Song.

 From my father’s notes - ".. we were taken in at theaters, radio stations & private homes by police & other bums like long lost sons. Great Depression? It was grim, but on the road, we were fed & cared for by the great good heart of America. Me, Blackjack Ray Scaramano & Ramblin' Bill Seward could never agree to the letter on anything but that people are really good at heart."

“We run into this fella, Woody, who sang songs he wrote that got the blood boiling over the many things we need to fix in the world. We sang with this fella several nights and then we got on different freights on the way out west. I hope to run into him again.” Curt Busby Chicago 1933

This show is Woody's own words and songs of the road. It will feature the amazing band " 32 North" as musicians and sometimes players.Named after the road that took them from their birthplace in Round Pond to venues all around Midcoast,  32 North is an American String Band from Maine. For the last seven years, they have been delivering the best from country music's outlaws, the swamp, bluegrass, Grateful Dead and traditional selections.

32 North will bring its brand of groove, style and passion to music and stories from the American highway with this talented cast of singers and actors:

Nick Azzaretti, Ella Ackerman, Erin Barton, Sumner Fernald Richards III, and Ellie Busby

" . . . I have heard a storm of words in me, enough to write several hundred songs and that many books. I know that these words I hear are not my own private property. I borrowed them from you, the same as I walked through the high winds and borrowed enough air to keep me moving. I borrowed enough to eat and drink to keep me alive. I borrowed the shirt you made, the coat you spun, the underwear you fixed, and those socks you wove. I went on and walked down my road, you went on and walked your path. And the weather's winds, snows, sleets, ices, and hailstones cut down the oat straw, beat through the car top, knocked holes in shingles and went through awnings broke window lights, but never separated our works. Your works and my works held hands and our memories never did separate. I borrowed my life from the works of your life. " Woody Guthrie

No one actor plays Woody - this piece is not intended to be an impersonation of Woody or a traditional biography. In fact, every member of the ensemble takes on the first-person perspective at some point in the piece. Woody believed that his works were best heard coming from the people around him, and Woody Guthrie's American Song takes that philosophy to heart.

“I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you.” Woody Guthrie

Come to the show to share the songs and stories of the Great Depression, early labor movement, the Dust Bowl, tragedy, and triumph. Sing along on the choruses and celebrate Woody and his songs that inspire us still today with their plain truths.