Musicians gather in Portland to record lost Woody Guthrie songs - KPTV - FOX 12

Musicians gather in Portland to record lost Woody Guthrie songs

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Musicians from across the Northwest are coming together to record a special album in celebration of the 75th anniversary of when Woody Guthrie wrote and recorded several hits in Portland.

Guthrie spent a month in Oregon writing and recording songs for a special project for the Bonneville Power Administration. BPA was working on a movie to highlight its hydro dam projects. Guthrie wrote 26 songs in all for the power company. Seventeen were recorded and a few were heard in BPA’s films.

“We've never found evidence that the remaining 9 were ever recorded by anybody,” said collaborator Bill Murlin. “They disappeared for a while.”

Now Murlin and others are bringing those songs, and Guthrie’s other northwestern tunes to life. Many of the lyrics are about the Columbia River and the people who worked and lived in the surrounding areas.

The musicians are currently recording new renditions of the 26 songs. The album is expected to be released this fall.

Executive Producer Joseph Seamons said the project is just as much about preserving history as it is honoring Guthrie’s work.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of awareness about how all of this we enjoy (in the Pacific Northwest) was built,” Seamons said. “These songs lead you to that.” 

More information on the project and how you can donate can be found here:

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