Woody Guthrie’s American Song

Part of the pleasure of working on this has been learning more of and about the songs.

Long Dusty Road

Photo: Steve Krahnke

Singers celebrate the legacy of Woody Guthrie.

The newly christened Heartland Players are presenting Woody Guthrie”s American Song as a benefit for Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard and Mental Health America of Monroe County in performances at Bloomington’s Unitarian Universalist Church.

Jane McLeod is a singer, instrumentalist and a sociology professor at Indiana University. “I knew a few of Woodie Guthrie’s songs, but my own background was in liturgical music and in singing backup in one of Craig Brenner’s early bands. Part of the pleasure of working on this has been learning more of and about the songs.”

The production is directed by Steve Krahnke with minimal staging, but makes use of projections and lighting for background and effects. “The pictures from the period of course help us to understand the songs even better and they, along and some of the lighting really help to make this open space work for the play.”

Woody Guthrie’s American Song offers twenty-three of his songs sung by a cast of sixteen. With just one exception all of us were in the production a couple of years ago. It’s been great getting back together and going through the show. We’ve got a six member band led by Dan Lodge-Rigal and with just one exception, they’re all back too.”

“As we thought about the project it just seemed so right for these times. The songs are such a document of our history. They were difficult times but there’s also a good bit of fun and humor in them. At least one of Woody’s collections was called Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People and that’s a pretty good fit.”

Woody Guthrie’s American Song
Heartland Players
Bloomington Unitarian Universalist Church
February 5 and 6, 2010

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

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