I Ain't Dead Yet

Photo by Lester Balog


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.

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 Archive.

Woody’s 100th birthday!
*For a complete list of conferences, events, and public programs - visit www.woody100.com

The year-long celebrations, co-produced by Nora Guthrie and Robert Santelli (Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum Foundation) included; educational conferences, exhibits, adult and elementary school outreach programs & presentations, and concerts that followed Woody’s road from Oklahoma through California and on to New York City. 

THE FIRST STOP on the centennial tour was Woody's home state, Oklahoma. On March 10th, the all-star concert featured: Arlo GuthrieJohn MellencampThe Del McCoury Band with Tim O'Brien,Rosanne Cash with John LeventhalThe Flaming LipsHansonJimmy LaFave, and Old Crow Medicine Show, and took place at the Brady Theater in the downtown Brady Arts District of Tulsa, OK.

THE SECOND STOP was Pampa, Texas, for an intimate evening performance by Arlo Guthrie, titled Woody's Road to Pampa.

THE THIRD STOP was Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California, where on April 14, all all-star concert featured: Jackson BrowneKris KristoffersonGraham NashVan Dyke ParksTom MorelloDawes,John DoeJoe HenryRob WassermanJoel RafaelSarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott.

THE FOURTH STOP was the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College. On September 22, 2012 our all-star tribute to Woody featured: Judy CollinsBilly BraggSteve Earle,Tony Trischka BandThe KlezmaticsJohn Cohen & The Dust BustersMike + RuthyJay Ungar & Molly Mason, and Pete Seeger.

THE FIFTH AND FINAL STOP was The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on October 14, 2012 and featured: John MellencampJackson BrowneRy Cooder and Dan GellertJudy CollinsDel McCoury Band with Tim O'BrienAni DiFrancoTom MorelloRosanne Cash with John Leventhal,Lucinda WilliamsDonovanOld Crow Medicine ShowJimmy LaFaveJoel RafaelRob WassermanTony TrischkaSweet Honey In The Rock, and Ramblin' Jack ElliottWoody Guthrie at 100! Live at the Kennedy Center was released to CD & DVD on Sony Legacy Records and premiered on PBS.

Woody Guthrie Center opens!

On April 28, 2013, The Woody Guthrie Center opened in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Nora Guthrie along with Robert Santelli (Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum Foundation) and the George Kaiser Family Foundation created the permanent home for the Woody Guthrie Archive, complete with a permanent exhibit on the life and legacy of Woody Guthrie, a temporary gallery space, and a 60-seat theater. The Woody Guthrie Center, located in the heart of the Brady Arts District, is dedicated to educating people on the powerful and intangible legacy Woody Guthrie has left.

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 Songwriters' Hall of Fame inductee (1970)

  • The Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame inductee (1977)

  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 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)

  • The Songwriters' Hall of Fame, Pioneer Award (2012)


"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."


*Hear Pete Seeger recite these words, Note of Hope CD


This Land Is Your Land


Biography section page 9 of 10

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