At first glance one might think that The Greyhound Diaries is an expose on dog racing. Or it could be a history of greyhound breeding. But neither of those opinions is correct. The Greyhound Diaries is a book and an album put together by singer-songwriter Doug Levitt. Levitt has spent more than twelve years traveling on Greyhound buses across the United States. He has logged over 120,000 miles over a decade to collect stories and memories of his fellow travelers who were all just struggling to get by. He has collected pictures and written songs about the people he met on the bus.
In 2004 Doug Levitt saw the poverty statistics and watched the number of people in poverty rise from 37 million to 49 million. However, numbers can tell you just so much, and Levitt wanted a better picture of this culture of poverty. He was inspired by WPA projects of the 1930’s to help folks escape the poverty brought on by the Great Depression. One thing that struck him was the diversity of people he met on his journey. He met urban, rural, black, white, Latino, Amish, veterans, elderly, and many more folks. The one thing they all had in common was that they could not afford to drive or fly to their destination. They had no smart phones, no laptops, and they couldn’t afford a car. His stories, songs, and images are collected in his digital memoir known as The Greyhound Diaries.
In 1972 Doug Levitt was born in Washington, D.C. where he attended D.C. public schools and he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. Levitt says that when he was just 16 years old father committed suicide. This event was influential in his journey to becoming an artist. Levitt enrolled in Cornell University where he took classes under the great astrophysicist Carl Sagan. He later obtained a Fulbright Scholarship which allowed him to earn a master’s degree in International Relations at the prestigious London School of Economics. While in London, Levitt became a foreign correspondent. He reported for a number of news outlets such as CNN, ABC, NBC, and MSNBC. He moved to Nashville when he decided to switch careers to singer-songwriter. He worked with famed producer David Henry to produce The Greyhound Diaries. Levitt has performed at The Kennedy Center, the Woody Guthrie Center, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, as well as homeless shelters across the nation.