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26 Songs in 30 Days

Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest

$12.99

208 pages

ISBN: 9781570619717

In 1941, Woody Guthrie wrote 26 songs in 30 days--including classics like “Roll On Columbia” and “Pastures of Plenty”--when he was hired by the Bonneville Power Administration to promote the benefits of cheap hydroelectric power, irrigation, and the Grand Coulee Dam. Timed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this project, KEXP DJ Greg Vandy takes readers inside the unusual partnership between one of America’s great folk artists and the federal government, and shows how the American folk revival was a response to hard times.

26 Songs In 30 Days plunges deeply into the historical context of the time and the progressive politics that embraced Social Democracy during an era in which the United States had been severely suffering from The Great Depression. And though this is a musical history of a vibrant American musical icon and a specific part of the country, it couldn’t be a better reminder of how timeless and expansive such topics are in today’s political discourse.


From the Hardcover edition.

Since 2000, Greg Vandy has been the host of The Roadhouse on Seattle’s KEXP radio where he brings a world of folk, blues, and roots-inspired music to listeners in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.

“I can’t get enough of Woody Guthrie, and Greg Vandy reveals him afresh in the context of a project that piques the best in Woody, and maybe the best in America. Read, learn, enjoy—and sing.”
—Robert Gordon, author of Respect Yourself

“26 Songs in 30 Days is a valuable addition to the Woody Guthrie library, not to mention a great read. Greg Vandy’s love of the topic reveals itself on every page. The story he tells provides insight and clarity about a period in the life of Guthrie that hasn’t gotten its due—until now”
—Robert Santelli, author of This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song

"Greg Vandy, known for his engaging KEXP roots-music show, “The Roadhouse,” lovingly unravels that tale in this cleanly written, handsomely designed and liberally illustrated book about Guthrie’s month-plus tenure based in Portland in 1941. In the bargain, Vandy contextualizes Guthrie’s story with a ton of other fascinating facts about Northwest history."
The Seattle Times

"Greg Vandy's 26 Songs in 30 Days examines the period in 1941 when Woody Guthrie spent a month writing a song a day about hydroelectric power, irrigation, and the Grand Coulee Dam for the Bonneville Power Administration, and is a fascinating glimpse of the musician's life as well as the social politics of the time."
Largehearted Boy

"Knowing the story behind these songs enriches them, but the real value and enjoyment of 26 Songs is the surprisingly relevant connections between past and present political issues it offers you to make through the lens of Guthrie’s music."
The Stranger

“This fascinating tome details a period in Guthrie’s life when he was hired by the Bonneville Power Administration to promote the benefits of cheap hydroelectric power, irrigation, and the Grand Coulee Dam.”
KEXP

“One of KEXP’s most noted DJs explores the relationship between Guthrie and the Bonneville Power Administration that yielded timeless folk songs.” 
Shelf Talk, The Seattle Public Library

“Greg Vandy's "26 Songs in 30 Days" is a fascinating book that explores the folk musician Woody Guthrie's month-long employment by the Bonneville Power Administration in 1941 when Guthrie was assigned to write one song per day while being driven all along the Columbia River.” 
The Grand Coulee Star

26 Songs in 30 Days... [is] the revelatory history of Guthrie’s work as a commissioned songwriter for the Pacific NW...” 
Northwest Music Scene

26 Songs In 30 Days plunges deeply into the historical context of the time and the progressive politics that embraced Social Democracy during an era in which the United States had been severely suffering from The Great Depression. And though this is a musical history of a vibrant American musical icon and a specific part of the country, it couldn’t be a better reminder of how timeless and expansive such topics are in today’s political discourse.” 
The Columbia Riverkeeper

"26 Songs in 30 Days is powerful. Vandy and Person do expansive justice to their narrow subject, swerving outside their coffee table book lane and crucially, big-upping Guthrie while filleting the notion of his unassailable musical-ethical integrity. This is a book that raises philosophical, artistic and ethical questions."
Seattle Review of Books

“75 years ago, America's greatest folk singer spent a month in the Northwest where he wrote some of his most famous songs. Now [26 Songs in 30 Days] tells the story of Woody Guthrie's Columbia River song cycle.” 
—Evening Magazine

"This is a terrific read and Woody Guthrie is really part of the American traditional song book"
Nancy Guppy, ArtZone

"Vandy takes readers inside the unusual partnership between one of America's great folk artists and the federal government, and shows how the first American folk revival of the 1930's was a response to hard times."
 The West Seattle Herald

"Context for the complex fight for public power in the Pacific Northwest...is well provided by Greg Vandy in his book"  
—Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons

"26 Songs In 30 Days plunges deeply into the historical context of the transformative vision and the progressive politics that embraced social democracy during an era that led America out of the severe suffering of the Great Depression."
Bainbridge Community Podcast

"26 Songs in 30 Days is splendidly illustrated with images of Guthrie’s typed and handwritten lyrics and letters, postcards, historical photos, and marvelous BPA posters."
The Bellingham Herald

"The book [is] well-researched and well-written...and makes a very specialized topic not only broadly accessible, but interesting to an audience that may not be remotely invested its subject."-Three Imaginary Girls

"Celebrate[s] the 104th birthday of Woody Guthrie and the 75th anniversary of his one month of BPA employment."
The Associates
 
"Vandy’s storytelling is effortless and uncomplicated. Like the river, it rolls on."
WA List

"[Guthrie's] 'love letters' to the Northwest."
The Oregonian

"[A] tribute to Guthrie's Washington work."
Seattle P.I.

"Vandy...tells the story behind Woody Guthrie's Columbia River songs."
Alaska Beyond

"[Highlights] the history of Guthrie’s songwriting for BPA."
Bonneville Power Administration

"Authors Greg Vandy and Dan Person offer a breezy yet informative read, and there are some terrific rarely-seen photos"
KPFK

"Fascinating...a really great story."
—Air-Raid

"26 Songs in 30 Days is a history of an American folk music icon and of our state."
The Herald

"A riveting discussion about Woody Guthrie."
—Bainbridge Island Review

"Greg Vandy, a Seattle author and KEXP DJ, describes Guthrie's journey to the Northwest and reveals what he calls the 'beauty of his simplicity."
—KPLU

"A tactile chronicle of the timeless friction between art and commerce."
—The SunBreak 

"A lively history that combines biography, music, public policy and social and environmental concerns."
Kitsap Sun

"26 Songs in 30 Days [is] about Guthrie’s legendary place in Americana culture and Grand Coulee Dam history."
Grand Coulee Star

"[26 Songs in 30 Days] chronicles the history and cultural impact of Guthrie’s journey."
—KUOW

"To celebrate the 75th anniversary of [Guthrie's] project, Seattle author and KEXP DJ Greg Vandy has penned 26 Songs in 30 Days."
Inlander

"26 Songs in 30 Days focuses on a chapter in regional Pacific Northwest history…in concise and engaging prose."
Baja Review

“Not a rehashing of Guthrie’s early life and travels, the book includes just enough biography and local folklore to keep this month of 1941 in context.”
—Mark’s 365 Days of Vinyl

"Tribute to [a] famous folk singer."
Columbia Basin Herald

"[26 Songs in 30 Days] explores Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River songs."
Wenatchee World

"Brilliant"
—MyNorthwest

“This is a story that should be shared.”
—Sightline Institute

“[A] folk legend’s time in the Pacific Northwest.”
Oregon Public Broadcasting 

“[The story of] Guthrie’s fertile 30-day sojourn in the Pacific Northwest, when he road-tripped throughout the Columbia River basin—composing 26 songs celebrating the rugged landscape, the majestic river, and the Grand Coulee Dam’s promise of prosperity through irrigation and affordable electricity.”
Acoustic Guitar

“[A] folk icon.”
The Tennessean

“Highly regarded.”
—No Depression

“[Shows] the relationship between Social Democracy and progressive politics.”
—The Stranger

“A rich part of folk music history.”
—Portland Tribune
 
“Keep it local.”
—Shelf Talk

"...a beautiful book that deserves to be read, observed, and left on your coffee table for friends to see."
—Darryl Holter 

"Greg Vandy is a man of many talents."
 —Hey Human

"Moving, inspiring, and uplifting, the songs of Woody Guthrie took the rural grassroots to the entire nation through folk music – and, as a result, warmed up their hearts and minds, respectively, in unity."
—Heed the Hedonist

" A more in-depth look at the story of [Woody’s] songs and Guthrie's partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration."
—NewsOK

“This is a never told before story of how the first American folk revival of the 1930s was a response to hard times, and how Guthrie championed a new Social Democracy in Portland.”
 Hood River News

"That it was all bought and paid for by Bonneville was a funny thing to discover, but it didn’t make it any less cool or discredit the songs in any way."
—The Bluegrass Situation 
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