Wednesday, August 28, 2013

#325 - Pretty Boy Floyd (Then and Now)

Song - Pretty Boy Floyd
Artist - Woody Guthrie

Today is a pretty special ukudaily for me. When I was 12 I was in a production with my dad called "A Tribute to Woody Guthrie". While I had done plenty of theater by that time, it was like any production I had ever been in. Joseph, the director, had taken the time to find really amazing pieces of writing and music by Woody Guthrie. He arranged them all together to describe a side of Woody Guthrie I think only the hard core fans knew about. I was the youngest member of the cast, but he really made a place for me and helped me to feel very included in the production. One of the ways he did this was by giving me a piece to sing called Pretty Boy Floyd. My dad played the viola, bringing a perfect sense of sadness to the song while I charged my way through the 12 versus. At times it was terrifying, knowing that it was all on me to keep all those versus in my head, but it was an amazing challenge and changed me as a musician and a performer. After one performance a kind elderly woman said, "who was the young lady with the voice like Ethel Merman?" That comment was a real boost for me! I knew my voice wasn't conventionally pretty, but Ethel Merman had a functional and extremely powerful voice and that was good enough for me.

Joseph gave me this memory with my dad and a few weeks ago he offered to send me the dvds of the performance. I am so happy to get to view this experience in all it's awkward glory. So much awkward hair tucking and feet shuffling, I'm sure I'm doing everything I can not to pass out or barf and it shows, but hey I got through it. Here it is enjoy, and feel free to laugh!!

I thought I would give it another try 17 years later. I don't know all the words by heart anymore, but it's a hell of a lot less awkward!

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