~ A special note from Nora Guthrie ~
It's been just over twenty years since I started working with my dad. I was a dancer for most of my life, but somehow this work ended up in my lap. And I've enjoyed every minute of it, from the first Mermaid Avenue album I did with Billy Bragg and Wilco, to the latest book project with Phil Buehler Woody's Guthrie's Wardy Forty, and the opening of the new Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma last year, these years have been filled to the brim working with creative and joyful souls.
Mostly though, I've been lucky enough to connect to this wonderful tribe of thousands of people around the world who are the "coal-holders" of Woody's music and ideals. That's all of YOU.
Today, I have a birthday card with a special upcoming gift, for my dad!
MY NAME IS NEW YORK
Ramblin’ Around Woody Guthrie’s Town
Deluxe Audio Book ~
Release Date: September 23, 2014
It's the story of Woody's 27 years living here in the city, and we visit 19 historic locations - in this 3-CD set - where Woody lived and worked. Now, for the first time, you'll actually be able to hear these stories told by those who knew him best, in many different ways and through various encounters and circumstances; music partners Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Sonny Terry, and Bess Lomax Hawes, Woody's first wife Mary Guthrie, Woody's merchant marine buddy Jimmy Longhi, Bob Dylan, my mother Marjorie Guthrie, and many others share their memories with you first-hand. Of course, my brother Arlo and I have a few good stories to tell as well!
I was born here in New York City, in Coney Island. "Growing up Guthrie" we were surrounded by folks like Lead Belly, Pete & Toshi Seeger, Cisco Houston, Alan Lomax, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Phil Ochs, and just about every other folk singer that ever lived. It's something that I took for granted, and mostly didn't even pay much attention to. (Hey, who actually pays attention to their parents friends!) But now, I'm looking back at the life that I was born into, and am utterly amazed at the quality of individuals I've been surrounded by. And how, in their own way, they each helped to chisel my father's destiny.
So this is my birthday present to my dad and my "thank you" to all the folks who came before, during, and will remain forever, loving figures in our lives.
Personally, working on this recording has been more than just a nostalgic walk down memory lane. It's been a precious adventure, collecting the stories – and the voices - of my father's NYC friends and family. It's been, at times, both a hilarious and tearful journey.
Working on it, I became aware that it was through all these karmic connections and intimate relationships that my own destiny was mysteriously (and seriously!) forged.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD! Thank you for handing down to me this beautiful life.