Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Hard Travelin’ With Woody is a one-man multimedia piece featuring the music and artwork of Woody Guthrie. Hop a fast-rattler through the Dustbowl with Woody Guthrie and commune with the spirit, stories, and songs of America’s great saint-of-the-workingman and poet-of-the-people.
Hard Travelin’ With Woody is an oral history of the life and times of Woody Guthrie. Randy Noojin transports us back in time to a 1930’s union hall in Oklahoma where he is Woody Guthrie playing the guitar and harmonica and telling us stories about the “Okies.” In the 1930’s severe dust storms caused drought that severely damaged the breadbasket of the USA. The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms. These families were often known as "Okies" because so many of them came from Oklahoma where the drought hit the hardest. More than 500,000 people were left homeless and forced to migrate to other regions of the Untied States to look for paying work.
These are the forgotten voices that are brought forth and we hear their stories through the songs and stories that Noojin performed. I enjoyed being encouraged to sing along to the classic folk songs as Hard Traveling, Which Side Are You On? And This Land Is Your Land. As he sang and told stories projections of Woody Guthrie’s art were projected. Guthrie is very well known for his music, but until I saw this show I had no idea that he had been a sign painter and also drew eloquent sketches of his life and times. I especially enjoyed this rich detail because it made me feel drawn into the times that he was singing about.
Guthrie’s music is totally relevant today. In the course of his show, Noojin calls us to stand together to fight against the greed and selfishness of the rich one percent. He encourages us when he tells us “as long as we can keep hope alive we can have a future.”
I highly recommend this multi-media experience depicting the life and times of the American icon Woody Guthrie.