“I have always been a fan of Woody Guthrie’s music. To me, he is one of the essential touchstones for American songwriters, especially for those of us interested in the folk/rock/americana genres. About two years ago, I started researching his life and was excited to learn that back in 1941 Woody lived in Oregon. I became even more interested when I found out that in 1941 he lived in Southeast Portland, not far from my own home…”
Ken Vigil, May 2006
Soon after learning about Woody’s time in Portland, Ken began writing a song about Woody. In doing his research for the song, some interesting opportunities presented themselves. First, he was able to find the house where Woody lived in 1941 (confirming the location with several sources). Next, he was able to rent the house and use it as a recording studio for this project. Then, he was introduced to Woody’s driver and traveling partner from back in 1941, Elmer Buehler. Elmer is now 95 years old and still very sharp. He graciously met with Ken several times to tell stories about his travels with Woody, letting Ken record these sessions.
This CD project was graced with many apparent coincidences that put a rich, historical perspective on much of the music. It seemed at times as though the stars were lining up just right and perhaps the spirit of Woody was helping to guide things along. Certainly there was a positive force that seemed to support the project from the song writing through the recording, mixing, and mastering.
Ken was able to complete the project in time for Elmer Buehler’s 95th birthday. He presented the CD as a birthday present to Elmer in May of 2006. The gift arrived 65 years (almost to the day) from when Woody and Elmer set out to explore the Columbia River country back in May of 1941.