The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #120653   Message #2625866
Posted By: Suffet
06-May-09 - 07:29 PM
Thread Name: Woody Guthrie Birthday Bash CD (2001-2008)
Subject: Woody Guthrie Birthday Bash CD
From: Steve Suffet
Telephone: 718-786-1533

Open Your Hearts to the Paradise CD features best recordings from the Woody Guthrie Birthday Bash, 2001-2008.

• Tracks include Eric Levine's last recorded performances.

• Now available online from CD Baby.

For immediate release

Open Your Hearts to the Paradise / The Best of the Woody Guthrie Birthday Bash / 2001-2008 is here at last. This brand new CD contains 17 tracks and features live performances by 13 different artists. Among the tracks are the late Eric Levine's last recorded performances, in which he sings solo on two songs (Talking Health Care Blues and John Hardy) and leads the singing on a third (This Train). Eric also plays banjo on many other other tracks. A talent musician and tireless human rights activist, Eric passed away in May 2008 at the age of 51.

In addition to Eric Levine, performers on Open Your Hearts to the Paradise include Hillel Arnold, Toby Fagenson, Jessica Feinbloom, Emma Graves, Joel Landy, Mimi LaValley, Ethan Miller, Sandy Pliskin, Anne Price, Steve Suffet, Gina Tlamsa, and Carlos Vazquez.

Woody Guthrie, the great American folk musician, was born in Okemah, Oklahoma, on July 14, 1912, and he lived in New York City off and on from 1940 until his death from Huntington's disease in 1967. Beginning in 2001, various local folk performers would come together in Lower Manhattan one Sunday each July to celebrate Woody's birthday with a good old-fashioned hootenanny. Some of the personnel changed from year to year, while others returned time and again. A few were full time working musicians, but most were talented semi-professionals: teachers, psychologists, editors, librarians, archivists, and whatnot who played an occasional gig. All shared a love of Woody's music, and when called upon, they backed each other up with vocal and instrumental accompaniment. The first six Woody Guthrie Birthday Bashes took place at CB's 313 Gallery, the acoustic twin of CBGB/Omfug, the famed punk-rock club. In 2007, after CB's 313 Gallery and CBGB/Omfug closed, the Birthday Bash moved across the street to the Bowery Poetry Club.

Anne Price and Steve Suffet compiled this CD by carefully going through whatever recordings they could find from the first eight years. These were all "house mixes" taken from the sound board and were never intended to be released to the public. Recording engineer Ray Korona did what he could to sweeten them up, but for some years, including 2001, no usable recording was available.

Open Your Hearts to the Paradise -- the title is taken from the first verse of Peace Call, the opening song on he CD -- is truly a labor of love. Only 500 copies have been manufactured, and once they are sold out, the CD will not be reissued. Please purchase your copy online from CD Baby, the Internet based independent music retailer. Just go to for complete information on how to order. The price is $15 per CD.