Anna Larson, Dan Weber Take 2nd & 1st Place
Saturday night at Woodyfest 2019 kicked off, as in past [Sidenote: This is the seventeenth post in our coverage of the twenty-second annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. We’ll be alternating our reporting with essays and photo galleries from the seventeenth festival in 2014, so check in often for a mix of old and new Woodyfest goodness.] years, with a showcase for the Woody Guthrie Songwriting Contest winners.
The showcase lead with second-place winner [Sidenote: The third-place showcase took place the previous evening. Ed Dupas and Chet O’Keefe tied for their songs “Train” and “In Case You Forgot,” respectively.] Anna Larson performing her winning song “Acting Alone” accompanied by guitarist Jon-Michael Rogers.
The Austin-based pianist and singer appeared on NPR’s All Songs Considerered in 2019. While in isolation during the 2020 pandemic, Larson recorded a seven-song EP and an accompanying short film, Cocoon, releasing both pieces 29 January, 2021.
Following Larson, first-place winner Dan Weber performed his winning song “Ever Since Columbine.” Weber wrote the song after watching the news of another in a seemingly endless string of mass shootings, this one taking place in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which happened to be where his 1968 Gibson guitar was manufactured.
No stranger to Woodyfest, Weber placed third in the 2013 songwriting contest for his song “What I’m Lookin’ For,” as well as garnering honorable mention for audience-favorite “Oh Woody.” The following year, he placed second for “Hank and Jesus.”
Weber can be counted on to show up at the festival most years, whether he is performing or not. He recently moved from Oregon to Richardson, Texas, just in time to experience the Great 2020 Blizzard and the subsequent failure of the Texas power grid. Here’s hoping he can stand the heat, now that summer’s here.