The Greyhound Bus line is not the first choice for many travelers seeking expediency or privacy, but it serves as a comfortable and safe solution for those unable to afford these conveniences. For Doug Levitt, the Greyhound Bus line served as an eight year creative experiment; a cultural magnifying glass on the lives and locales that animate the endless American road.
It was the tragic circumstances of his father’s death that anchored a powerful artistic motivation in Doug Levitt, particularly a passion for music, enticing him to join a gospel choir in his teens. Growing up in Washington D.C, raised by a pragmatically conservative mother, he also gained a sensitive political awareness early on.
Levitt spent the late 90’s in London, working as a foreign correspondent at several major news networks including NBC and ABC. In 2001, Levitt left London and moved to Kentucky to pursue singing and song writing. He met with music producer David Henry, a mutually fruitful partnership that would ultimately give birth to The Greyhound Diaries, an ambitious multimedia experiment combining Levitt’s journalistic talents with his musical passions. This gesture was largely inspired by the culturally significant efforts of the Works Progress Administration, a part of Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930’s. This program served to create jobs and fund artistic pursuits for many unemployed Americans.
Levitt found many historical parallels with the economic downturn in 2004 and felt that a unique opportunity was presented for him to give voice to the kind of folks traveling up and down the nation in Greyhound buses. Armed with a journal, a guitar, and a camera, he stepped on a Greyhound bus and kept going until he had put around 80,000 miles behind him, and a treasure trove of experience. Out of this, Doug produced two albums, over 10,000 pictures, a book, a web series, and several live performances. A profound takeaway from this experience, Levitt mentions, is how our need for stories is compelled by our need to connect with others, from whatever part of the road they may arise from.
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