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New album includes previously unpublished Guthrie lyric

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Described as a natural interpreter of Woody Guthrie's lyrics and music, nationally acclaimed songwriter Joel Rafael has embarked on a new musical project to celebrate the songs of Woody Guthrie. Woodeye, Rafael's fourth CD, will be released internationally on Sunday, July 14th at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Guthrie's hometown of Okemah, OK, in honor of Guthrie's birthday.

Produced by Dan Rothchild, Woodeye contains fourteen songs. Twelve were penned by Guthrie, one by Rafael, and one unpublished lyric—"Dance A Little Longer"—is a co-write with words by Guthrie and music by Rafael. The album also includes guest appearances by Jennifer Warnes, Ellis Paul, Van Dyke Parks, and Matt Cartsonis.

"I really wanted to make a recording that would be a Woody Guthrie experience for a new audience: a collection of songs, both familiar and rare, that would bring Woody's material within reach of the ears of today's listeners. It was an awesome challenge to make an album of Woody Guthrie songs. It was much more difficult than doing my own songs, because it was important for me to honor Woody through his music, not just record a collection of his songs," says Rafael. "The story on 'Dance A Little Longer' is not about me co-writing a song with Woody; it's more like a celebration and acknowledgement of how timeless Woody's material is, and how well it lives into the new millennium."

Considered one of the most refreshing new acts on the national folk festival scene, Joel and his acoustic band have been performing and touring the country for the last ten years. In 2000, the Joel Rafael Band Joel Rafael (lead vocals & guitar), his daughter Jamaica Rafael (violin, viola & vocals), Carl Johnson (acoustic lead guitar) and Jeff Berkley(ethno-percussion)—released their third album, Hopper, on Inside Recordings, an independent label created by Jackson Browne and his management. This highly acclaimed album was nominated in 2001 for an Association For Independent Music–AFIM 'Best Contemporary Folk' award.

Last year, the Joel Rafael Band was also featured on two compilation CDs: Folkscene, Vol. 3, released on Red House Records, and If I Had A Song: The Songs of Pete Seeger, Vol. 2 on Appleseed Recordings, performing Guthrie and Seeger tunes, respectively.

Rafael's all-acoustic interpretation of Guthrie's songs draws from real-life experiences. And, like Guthrie, Rafael's music evokes the inspiration, the hope and the greater realization that there is often more to life than what is readily apparent.

For more information about Woodeye and the Joel Rafael Band, please visit,, and

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