THE WAYNE DRURY PROJECT
What once was and is still...
In the early 1970s, three friends, Wayne Drury, Rob Anderson,
and Randall Crawford came together in Eugene, Oregon as the band Jackdaw. Their repertoire included songs written by Wayne. He had no professional music training, but he created wonderful melodies held together with stories of people and places: The Last Cowboy in Paris, Gas Station Girl, trainmen riding on The New York Central Line ...
In 1974, at 27, Wayne was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Over time, it became increasingly difficult for him to play or sing.
Some 35 years later in London, Rob unearthed old Jackdaw tapes, was struck by how great the songs still were and felt something should be done to save them. With the help of several special musicians he created The Wayne Drury Project – a complicated labor of love – to perform and save Wayne’s music.
Wayne now lives in a nursing center, and although he lost many precious things along the way, he always keeps his tattered blue song folder within arm's reach, labelled "Touch this an' you die." (From a guy who probably never harmed an insect).
Working with Wayne from afield, Rob and musicians from London and the state of Washington performed four concerts as The Wayne Drury Project in London, September 2011 and a CD, 'Songs from The Saddlebag' was recorded.
Barb Gifford, Wayne’s sister
THE WAYNE DRURY PROJECT UK
Nine musicians contributed to the UK Project for the early London concerts. At the time it was imagined as a ‘one-off’ collaboration.
But the songs refused to fade away.
Demand and enthusiasm meant the core of the original Project continued to perform in the UK for another year and subsequently a sister Project was formed in the US.
THE WAYNE DRURY PROJECT USA
With an initial complement of 22 musicians of all ages, The USA Project sprang to life with three sold out concerts in Oregon in November 2012. Some of the London group were there and Wayne joined the band onstage to sing several of his songs.
The USA Project was not a band - in the folk music tradition of keeping songs alive, a new generation of local musicians came together and formed The Project to revive Drury's lost music and perform the songs. A series of one-off concerts were organized in 2012. The only goal was to bring Wayne's music back to the surface.Wayne was a prolific songwriter throughout the early seventies. Many songs were played a few times and lost. Others have survived.
Wayne lives in Cottage Grove, Oregon. He's grateful that his music is being noticed and brought back for another round.
Wayne Drury with Crawford
and Anderson as Jackdaw
The UK Wayne Dury Project
(left and below)
Laddie Ray Melvin,
Geri van Essen
The USA Project
(above, right and below)