OKEMAH — The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival turns silver this summer. The festival affectionately known as WoodyFest will celebrate its 25th anniversary July 13-17 at multiple venues across the folk legend's hometown of Okemah. The festival typically draws about 100 musicians and 3,000 music lovers to the small Okfuskee...
Amid the 1930s Dust Bowl, a particularly extreme meteorological event inspired a popular U.S. hit song on this day in Texas history. In 1935, April 14 was dubbed "Black Sunday" as what was considered to be one of the worst dust storms of the era occurred on this day and inspired Woody Guthrie to write the song "So Long, It's Been Good to Know You," according to the Texas State Historical Commission (TSHC).
When he died in 1967 at just 55, Woody Guthrie left behind more than 3,000 songs, whose plain words and simple melodies continue to tell the story of a nation. "Sunday Morning" host Jane Pauley looks back at the life of the folk artist who sang of America's destitute and dispossessed, of miners, sharecroppers and factory workers, and of farmers whose soil had turned to dust – in short, about Americans' perseverance and possibility. His music is now captured in a New York City exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum, "Woody Guthrie: People Are the Song."
He inspired generations of singer-songwriters from Pete Seeger to Bruce Springsteen. Now on display in New York City: a new exhibit devoted to the legendary Woody Guthrie. He sang a song of America … of its destitute and its dispossessed, of its hungry and poor and rootless. He sang of miners and sharecroppers and factory workers; of fathers who couldn't feed their children; of farmers whose soil had turned to dust.
A new exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum takes a look back at the life of renowned musician Woody Guthrie through a collection of music lyrics, instruments, photographs, and art from his time. “Woody Guthrie: People are the Song” will run until May 22 at the historical library in Murray Hill. The exhibit was put together by music historian Bob Santelli in collaboration with the Woody Guthrie Center and Woody Guthrie Publications, as well as the Woody Guthrie Archive.
Just about everyone can sing a verse or two of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” a folk ballad so popular that it can almost double as an American hymn. But did you know that Guthrie also wrote Hanukkah lyrics, sketched illustrations for Yiddish poems, drew a colorful birth announcement of his son Arlo dedicated to the newborn’s Yiddish-speaking Bubbie, and once wrote that in the “reflections, recollections” and voices fluttering” through “Coney Island’s Jewish air,” he “felt that here was my own voice?”
If Woody Guthrie were still here, his daughter says, the folk legend would still be his old vigilant self. “I think Woody would be writing everything down, from the minutiae of the daily news to the bigger questions of why are we here and what’s happening right now,” says Nora Guthrie, the president of Woody Guthrie Publications. “I think Woody would be thinking along those lines, questions like that.”
You have to be something pretty special to be Bob Dylan’s hero—and that’s exactly who and what the great American songwriter Woody Guthrie was. But he also lived many decades ago and while his music and inspiration live on, his quotes and thoughts on life may not be as well known.
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Musicians from Bob Dylan to Public Enemy’s Chuck D have sung the praises of Woody Guthrie; Philip Palmer, who curated the new exhibit "Woody Guthrie: People Are the Song" at the Morgan Library & Museum, says that “the musician/activist tradition really starts with Woody Guthrie.” But Guthrie was also full of surprises: a fine illustrator, a prodigious writer, a prolific family man, and – despite his reputation as a “Dustbowl Balladeer” – an artist with a close connection to New York. WNYC’s John Schaefer speaks to Palmer and to Deana McCloud of the Woody Guthrie Center about an exhibit that shows why Woody Guthrie still looms large on the American cultural scene, 55 years after his death.