When asked why he has offered to do this fundraiser, Paul said: “There’s a lot of music festivals on the planet. Stages upon stages of strumming, screaming, jumping- thumping song singers trying to reach the world with a three minute soul baring ballad or wild rock song. They play your Newport, your Vancouver, your Lollapalooza….but in my mind, the little festival in a dusty, sometimes muddy, field in Okemah, OK is the best of them all. It’s held in the name of a little hobo songwriter named Woody Guthrie. We go there to pay homage to him, to the art form, and to the red dirt from which he sprung. It ain’t about money, it’s ain’t about attention, and it’s ain’t about fame. But on a weekend in July it’s about songs, our community, and Mr. Woody Guthrie, and there’s no place I’d rather be.”
Paul has released 19 albums and is the recipient of 14 Boston Music Awards. He has been performing 200+ shows per year for more than 20 years. His music has been shared with a wider audience as well, through commercials, documentaries, TV shows and in the soundtracks of several films, among them three produced by the Farrelly Brothers. Peter Farrelly summed up the sentiments of all those who have come to know and appreciate Paul’s music by referring to him as “a national treasure.”
Opening for Ellis Paul will be Susan Herndon. Herndon draws from a reservoir of original material spanning five albums that have long found her sliding with ease from genre to genre. One moment she’s covering a Dylan classic in French with delicate fingerpicking on her guitar and the next may find her sitting at a keyboard paying homage to any number of fellow Oklahoma songsmiths, such as Woody Guthrie, Jimmy Webb, Leon Russell or J.J. Cale. Her song “The Bad Roads of Oklahoma” has been described as one of the ten best Route 66 road songs.
A VIP reception with Ellis Paul and Susan Herndon will be held after the show from 10pm to midnight at the Thompson Loft located at 115 W. Broadway, 2nd floor (3 blocks east of the Crystal Theatre – above Pamela’s Flowers) for VIP ticket holders. VIP ticket holders will be entered into a drawing for Ellis Paul’s original 2015 framed WoodyFest artwork. The drawing will take place at the VIP reception. In addition, VIP ticket holders will receive a gift bag containing a DVD of Woody Sez: A Tribute Concert to Woody Guthrie from the 8th annual festival, the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival 2012 CD Sampler, and Ellis Paul’s Live at WERS CD. Food and beverages will also be provided. VIP ticket must be presented for admittance to the reception.
General Admission ($30) and VIP ($50) tickets for the March 5 show are now on sale at Brown Paper Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2469241. Only 50 VIP tickets will be sold. Online ticket sales will end at 10am Feb. 23, 2016. Tickets can also be purchased at the door the night of the show – unless sold out. Please check the WoodyFest website for ticket updates. Doors will open at 6:30pm for the 7pm show.