The Woody Johnson Free Press

VOL. 1 -- NO. 2CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADASaturday, July 13, 2024

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EP Gets Johnson on Folk Festival Stage

Artistic Director Impressed

Woody Johnson made his festival debut at the 2008 Ottawa Folkfest. His scholarly research of obscure, black American poets follows in the footsteps of folklorists like John Lomax and Dorothy Scarbourough. His research into previously unrecorded songs found on cylinders and discs intrigued Chris White, artistic director of the festival, who hired him after listening to a three-song demo CD. Woody shared the festival stage that summer with Colin Linden, one Canada's most successful blues performers and producers.

Woody with Colin Linden at the 2008 Ottawa FolkFest
Woody with Colin Linden at the 2008 Ottawa FolkFest

Said Johnson after the show,"I was pretty nervous up there - wasn't sure I could keep up with a musician as talented as Colin, but once the music started and we got to talking about the artists from that era, well, I just kind of forgot myself, and he made me feel right at home."

Woody Johnson CD Cover

Woody Johnson
Debut CD Released

Campus Radio

Two Weeks in Top Ten


Ron Burd, of CIUT, Toronto, has remarked that it is "a fine collection of songs superbly recorded".

Click image to order CD

Song List (Tentative) for Recording - summer 2016

Here are a few titles Woody's been researching for the new record:

"Hopali" - a children's skipping rhyme - originating in the southern U.S - probably late 19th C.

"Little Tousle Head" - a poem written by Raymond Dandridge, late 19th/early 20th C.

"Miss Mary Mack" - a popular children's skipping song

"The Runaway Train" - a children's song popular in the 1930's

Johnson Travels East To Record

New Songs to be Recorded

Woody Johnson is now back to Ottawa researching early Canadian children's songs as well as collecting more poetry from the 19th century, to be recorded on a new CD. “I have already written music for several more poems from that era and have several more ready to record at Constant Sound Studio in Constance Bay, Ontario.”

Encouraged by the response from the folkroots community and the airplay he is receiving on campus radio stations throughout the country, he hopes to have another complete CD ready by spring, 2011.

“I have a collection of children's nonsense rhymes, skipping songs, clapping games - some from Canada and some from the United States. I'm planning a complete CD in this genre.”

Music For 19th Century Black Poetry

Asked why Ottawa is important he explained, “Ottawa is a researcher's paradise. As well as The National Library and Archives, there are other institutions that are available to me for the research which is essential to my projects. Contacts at the Parliamentary Library make it possible for me to obtain poetry books and music books that are rare or otherwise unattainable, and the only way to have that access is to be in Ottawa when doing that research.”

If you have a few minutes, check out the fine singer/songwriter Erin Ross at MySpace. An excellent fingerstyle guitar player and insightful songwriter based in Calgary AB.

Tim Williams, a fine finger-style blues guitar player living in Calgary, can be found performing at Mikey's Juke Joint every Tuesday night.

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