Doug Levitt is the personification of the French troubadour, traveling across the provinces of rural America, meeting the plain folk, singing songs, writing about his experiences and painting a portrait of the forgotten Americans. Doug Levitt travels with his guitar on his back and with his burgeoning songbook, he is replicating the career of Woodie Guthrie, who years before sang about the disenfranchised in America. There were other artistic efforts to humanize those struggling in this land of plenty but today our culture has returned to worshiping luxury. Everything is judged on how beautiful it is. Homes need to be ready for entry into Architectural Digest. Television constantly is concerned with the rich and beautiful.
Levitt had a transitional moment when he discovered his father dead after committing suicide in the family home near Washington, D.C. That moment must have been pivotal for him turning his back on the world of excess and becoming an artist. Levitt had all the opportunities in life, going to Cornell and then receiving a Fullbright scholarship to study at the London School of Economics. He had worked as a foreign correspondent in London before he made the radical transformation into a singer-songwriter.
Levitt has chosen an overlooked mode of transportation for his discovery of America; a Greyhound bus. He has been racking up miles and meeting people who have become subjects for his study and objects for his lyrics. Traveling by plane removes the joy of sightseeing and replaces it with time compression. On a plane, you are miserable for a short period of time and then you find yourself transposed to a different place, country, or climate.
The bus system in America connects all the towns and small villages to the bigger cities, and there are a dizzying array of riders. While most Americans would never take a bus, it is a preferred means of travel in most places in the world. Mercedes, Volvo, and VW make luxurious buses for travel in Europe and throughout the third world.
Doug Levitt has found a niche and a way to connect with the broad spectrum of America; expanding his world view and making him a spokesman of the American consciousness.