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'
Barb Gifford, Wayne’s sister
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.
There were nine musicians contributing to the 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 has meant the core of the original Project continues to perform in the UK,
and subsequently a sister Project was formed in the US.
With an initial complement of 22 musicians of all ages, The Wayne Drury Project USA sprang to life
with three sold out concerts in Oregon in November 2012 and continues to broadcast Wayne’s story
and music in the Northwest. Some of the London group were there and Wayne joined the band
onstage to sing several of his songs.