Any true Washingtonian knows that folksinger Woody Guthrie is an indelible part of state history. Nearly 70 years ago, Guthrie was recruited by the Department of the Interior to write songs about the Columbia River and promote the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, a massive Depression-era construction in eastern Washington. The most lasting result was “Roll On Columbia,” now the state’s official folk song. Any Woody Guthrie tribute night in Seattle, then, has to include an official cover of “Roll On Columbia,” which proudly describes the scenic nature of eastern Washington and the boasts of the progress the new dam would provide state residents. The likely Seattle singer to take on that challenge is Nancy K. Dillon. She’s a little more country and a little bit more rock and roll than Guthrie, but she sings about the same subject matter. She tries to find a sense of place in her songs, like on “Crossing 66,” comparing the expanse of a great highway to the rambling nature of a river. Dillon is connected to her subject matter, the same way Guthrie felt the waves of the Columbia with every note.
Wed., July 15, 9 p.m., 2009