Hear Album Track “California Stars” Here
Performance At Los Angeles’ Grammy Museum Confirmed For May 8
February 25, 2015 – Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Darryl Holter has confirmed the release of a new studio album, Radio Songs: Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles 1937-1939, out in North America on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 via 213 Music.
Featuring guest vocals by Ani DiFranco, Julia Holter and Sara Watkins, Radio Songs offers new arrangements of some of Woody Guthrie’s oldest songs, written primarily during Guthrie’s years in Los Angeles between 1937 and 1939. Holter and co-producer, twice Grammy-nominated Ben Wendel, brought together a talented cadre of musicians for the project including Greg Leisz (pedal/lap steel guitar), Gabe Witcher (fiddle), Dave Kemper (drums), Tim Young (guitar), and Billy Mohler (bass).
With three critically acclaimed albums under his belt, Holter is also a historian and co-author of a forthcoming book on Guthrie’s years in Los Angeles. “I began working with these songs after receiving a research grant from the Woody Guthrie Archives and BMI,” says Holter. “During Guthrie’s time in Los Angeles he wrote dozens of original songs and performed them live on a daily radio show on KFVD. They tell us a great deal about the issues of the day and also reveal Guthrie’s growth as an artist.”
A few of the songs are relatively well-known, such as “Do Re Mi” and “Oklahoma Hills” but most are less well-known songs that were popular with his radio listeners like “One by One” and “Los Angeles New Year’s Flood.” Included here is “Big City Ways,” a recently discovered song that is one of the first ever recorded by Guthrie, in 1939.
“When we think of the Urban Folk Revival, we tend to think of Greenwich Village in the ’40s and ’50s,” says Holter. “But I think the real origins began when Guthrie brought folk music to urban intellectuals and political activists in Los Angeles.”
Guthrie’s radio show “Woody and Lefty Lou” featured Maxine Crissman who sang duets with him. To capture the original spirit of those songs Holter worked with Sara Watkins and Ani DiFranco on “California Stars” and “Looking for that New Deal Now.” Julia Holter (Darryl’s daughter) takes up a beautiful Guthrie poem called “My Flowers Grow Green.”
Radio Songs will also include a DVD with footage of a street performance at Woody Guthrie Square in Downtown Los Angeles. Drawing upon his research, Holter explains how the songs reflect the concerns of ordinary people during the years of the Great Depression—unemployment, homelessness, and poverty. But other songs reveal Guthrie’s subtle humor and optimism for the future.
Do Re Mi
Big City Ways
California Stars (feat. Sara Watkins)
One By One
Looking For That New Deal Now (feat. Ani DiFranco)
My Flowers Grow Green (feat. Julia Holter)
Los Angeles New Year’s Flood
I Ain’t Got No Home
Talking Dust Bowl Blues
Darryl Holter Online: