Giving Voice to an Often Forgotten Group of Americans

“The Greyhound Diaries” is a collection of songs, stories and visuals put together by 45-year-old Doug Levitt during his more than ten years of travel on Greyhound busses across America. In 2004 Levitt bought a six week pass for Greyhound Bus travel to research the project. Six weeks stretched into more than ten years and well over 100,000 miles.

 

Before he began this journey, Levitt was a foreign correspondent based in London. He then switched careers, going back to his songwriting passion and moved to Nashville. Doug’s upbringing in Washington D.C. was middle class and diverse. His mother, Carol Schwartz, a D.C council member, was a role model for his civic passions. But his father David’s suicide when Doug was 16 created self-reflection and grief within the bright young man that probably contributed to his eventual evolution into artist/activist.

 

Levitt attended public schools in D.C. and received his bachelors degree from Cornell University. He later received a Fulbright Scholarship to attend the London School of Economics and get his masters degree in International Economics. After moving to Nashville though Levitt met music producer David Henry. The two began a long-term collaboration on “The Greyhound Diaries.”

 

The work is a collection of songs written by Levitt with contributions by other artists such as Steve Bowman (of the Counting Crows) and Craig Wright (drummer for Steve Earle and Eric Church). The songs are set to images from some of the 20,000 pictures Doug gathered while on his travels. These images, songs, stories and quotes from fellow travelers can be seen in many places on the internet, including douglevitt.com and youtube.com. Concerts are also being performed in various venues around the country.

 

The effort harkens back to the Works in Progress Administration (WPA) of the 30s and Woody Guthrie. The songs have a folk/country sound and the lyrics reflect the stories, places and emotions spilled out from his fellow travelers on the busses. Those people are mostly cut off from mainstream media and Levitt’s passion is to give them the voice they deserve and that all of America needs to hear.