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Woody Guthrie's Biography

    1912 - Childhood

    1931 - The Great Dust Bowl

    1937 - KFVD Radio Years

    1940 - New York Town

    1941 - Columbia River

    1942 - World War II

    1946 - Coney Island

    1954 - The Hospital Years

    I Ain't Dead Yet

    Where's Woody Now?

    Song & Life Timeline

    Bibliography

    Discography

    Filmography

    Woody Sez Quotes

 

Woody Guthrie's Biography

Page 9 of 10

WOODY SEZ...

"There's a feeling in music and it carries you back down the road you have traveled and makes you travel it again. Sometimes when I hear music I think back over my days - and a feeling that is fifty-fifty joy and pain swells like clouds taking all kinds of shapes in my mind.

Music is in all the sounds of nature and there never was a sound that was not music - the splash of an alligator, the rain dripping on dry leaves, the whistle of a train, a long and lonesome train whistling down, a truck horn blowing at a street corner speaker - kids squawling along the streets - the silent wail of wind and sky caressing the breasts of the desert.

Life is this sound, and since creation has been a song. And there is no real trick of creating words to set to music, once you realize that the word is the music and the people are the song."
- Source: Excerpts, 1942 datebook, Pastures of Plenty, pg 105.

LISTEN TO WOODY

This Land Is Your Land

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Download a free copy here.

Recording taken from-
This Land Is Your Land: Asch Recordings, Vol. 1

Photo by Lester Balog

LEGACY
"I Ain’t Dead Yet"

Having lived through some of the most significant historic movements and events of the Twentieth-Century --the Great Depression, the Great Dust Storm, World War II, the social and the political upheavals resulting from Unionism, the Communist Party and the Cold War-- Woody absorbed it all to become a prolific writer whose songs, ballads, prose and poetry captured the plight of everyman. While traveling throughout the American landscape during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, Woody's observations of what he saw and experienced has left for us a lasting and sometimes haunting legacy of images, sounds, and voices of the marginalized, disenfranchised, and oppressed people with whom he struggled to survive despite all odds. Although the corpus of original Woody Guthrie songs, or as Woody preferred "people's songs" are, perhaps, his most recognized contribution to American culture, the stinging honesty, humor, and wit found even in his most vernacular prose writings exhibit Woody's fervent belief in social, political, and spiritual justice.

In 1996, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University presented a ten day celebration honoring Woody Guthrie, entitled Hard Travelin'. It was the first major conference on the legacy of Woody Guthrie complete with a photo exhibition, lectures, films, and two benefit concerts, which were held in support of the Woody Guthrie Archives.


Honors and Awards

Woody Guthrie has been recognized for his monumental contributions and achievements in American culture. He has been the recipient of prestigious awards both from governmental departments and private arts organizations.

  • U.S. Department of the Interior, Conservation Service Award 1966
  • The National Songwriters' Hall of Fame inductee 1970
  • The Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame inductee 1977
  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum inductee 1988
  • The North American Folk Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award 1996
  • National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Lifetime Achievement Award 1999
  • The Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductee 2006

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