Nora's News ~ October/November
note of hope is the only note
that can help us or save us from
falling to the bottom of the heap
of evolution, because, largely,
about all a human being is anyway,
is just a hoping machine. - Woody Guthrie
What a year it has been. And what a time it is. Woody's NOTE OF HOPE keeps me going. And, based on the abundance of activities both here and abroad, I guess a lot of other people are feeling the same way.
I also have a feeling that there are more people out there who would like to know about Woody and his ideas. Being that we don't buy or solicit mailing lists, the only way we can expand is through word of mouth. Please help us build a network of people with common concerns by telling your family members, friends and coworkers at your company or organization about what we do. And if you yourself would like to us to keep in touch with you, then join our mailing list.
Now some highlights from this past year and the year to come. Within these words, I think you'll hear the tone of hope that is resonating throughout....
2002 celebrates Woody's 90th Birthday! So many concerts and events took place around the world we couldn't list them all. My brother, Arlo, continues the festivities with his own family style tribute to be held at Carnegie Hall November 30th. Guests include Pete Seeger, grandson Abe Guthrie, granddaughter Sarah Lee Guthrie with Johnny Irion, The Dillards and The Mammals. Arlo will release a new CD of all-Woody songs, 32 Cents, titled from the infamous postage stamp!
Woody made the cover of Dirty Linen Magazine for his birthday (July 2002) with a cover story on his artistic (and genetic!) legacy. Additional stories on Arlo, Abe, Sarah Lee and myself! were included in the feature. Granddaughter Anna Guthrie Rotante kicked in an incredible birthday present - a free full page ad for the Foundation and Archives appeared in the May 11-17th issue of TV Guide courtesy of their PSA department. Additional birthday coverage appeared in articles and radio documentaries from around the world including Austria, Denmark, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, Italy and France.
Film Festival also celebrated Woody's 90th birthday
this fall as they honored Haskell Wexler, Academy Award
winning cinematographer of the autobiographical film Bound
For Glory. A birthday concert featuring Happy Traum, Eric
Weisberg, Jay and Molly Ungar, Ellis Paul, Hohn Herald, Amy
Fraydon, the Vanaver Caravan, and Guthrie tribe: Arlo, Abe,
Sarah Lee and Johnny Irion was held at the Ulster County
Performing Arts Center in Kingston, NY and we were happy to
help organize a panel discussion on the relationship of film
and politics with the guys that know... Wexler and, Executive
Producer of the film, Harold Leventhal. Harold, longtime
business manager of Woody, The Weavers and so many
other folk legends, also received the Lifetime Achievement
Award from the Folk Alliance
this year. Congratulations to our beloved mentor and lighthearted
Ole Nashville celebrates Woody. The month of January
2003 will belong to Woody. Concert promoter Kari Estrin
has organized a month-long celebration of events to benefit
the Archives which will take place all around the town. The
performances, book signings, gallery showings and school programs
will culminate with a grand ole concert at the Ryman Auditorium
on Feb. 5th and usher in the Folk Alliance Conference
to be held in Nashville Feb. 6-9. Check our website for scheduled
performers and events....there's too many to list here!
Art Book.... it's in the works! I am happy to tell you
that I have begun working with award- winning Print Magazine
designer Steven Brower on what I know will be a real
coup for so many of us who love Woody's artwork. Sparked by
the tremendous reaction to Woody's art shown for the first
time in the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibit, we
have begun collaborating on a full colored book of Woody's
artwork! To be included will be; the original Bound For
Glory pen and ink series, political cartoons, topical
art, children's lyrics watercolors, illustrated lyrics and
Guthrie Legacy Records. Our new label will begin releasing
rare and historic recordings from the Archives. Our purpose
will be to make recordings from the Archives available to
historians, students, journalists and the public at large.
Our first release, recorded in 1949 on wire, is the only
existing recording of Woody in live performance with an audience.
Marjorie Guthrie hosts this intimate show. WGL Records will
be sold directly through our website and all proceeds will
go to support further Archives activities.
Music from the Archives. Following the joy of making Mermaid
I and II
with Billy Bragg and Wilco, we've continued on to new
projects creating music for lost and unpublished lyrics from
the Archives. The Joel
Rafael Band went even further and recorded a whole
CD of Woody cuts! Woodeye
includes the new lyric Dance a Little Longer. I've
listened to this CD over and over, and it just grows in beauty.
Paul (l.) and Blackfire (r.)
Ellis Paul just released his new CD The Speed of
Trees (Rounder) which includes another lyric, God's
Promise. Ellis picked a real winner which sheds light
on Woody's spiritual side. (Ellis will be performing with
Austin's Jimmy LaFave and Slaid Cleaves on their
Ribbon of Highway-Endless Skyway Tour, their tribute
to Woody's songs and music). Punk bands Blackfire and
Dropkick Murphys were also invited to look through
the lyrics for material for upcoming albums. And Cathy
Fink & Marcy Marxer were so touched by Billy Bragg's music
to Birds and Ships, that they've included it on their
new CD Postcards. Bassist and Rat Dog artist
Rob Wasserman and I continue our recordings of poetry
and prose from Woody's notebooks and diaries. Our most recent
cut mixes three masters of their own turf: Rob, Studs Terkel
and DJ Logic.
my invitation, Berlin songwriter Hans Eckardt Wenzel
recorded the first ever German language CD of Woody songs.
TICKY TOCK, due out in January, contains 10 new lyrics
from the Archives as well as new arrangements of some older
ones. New titles include: Ticky Tock, Every Hundred Years,
Blue Eyes, I Like To Stay Home with Daddy, Jinga Linga, Been
Out On An Ocean Trip, He and She and If I Were Everything
on Earth. The
CD will be recorded in English as well. I had the opportunity
to be in the studio with Wenzel this summer in Berlin and
we even appeared on nationwide television together. And,
before you find out from someone else, I'll tell you myself...he
made me sing on 2 tracks. In German. Click
here for a TV news report from Berlin with Wenzel
and Nora. The CD will coincide with the release of a new German/English
language Woody Guthrie Songbook (Palmyra) which contains
over 250 lyrics, photos, and artwork with commentary by Lou
Reed, Wenzel and others. Reknowned German translator,
Harry Rowahlt, worked on the translations with additional
contributions from Wenzel and German radio producer
and Folker! magazine editor Michael Kleff.
O Daddy! (Rounder) was released last fall to huge critical
acclaim with artists, Taj Mahal, Kim Wilson, Billy Bragg,
Syd Straw, Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Ramblin'
Jack Elliott performing new and old Woody's kids songs.
Kim Wilson's take on New Baby Train inspired children's
illustrator Marla Frazee to create a new book for release
next year (Little, Brown & Co).
spring, award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge published
a brilliant new biography, This Land Was Made for You and
Me, The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie (Viking) using
primary research material from the archives. Partridge's book
was just nominated for the National Book Award. Karen Mueller
Coombs gave us Woody Guthrie, America's Folksinger
(Carolrhoda) for young children. And There Ain't Nobody
That Can Sing Like Me by Anne E. Neimark (Atheneum)
was also just published for elementary school aged children.
Historic author Ed Cray's long anticipated biography
will also be published this coming year. (That's what I heard!)
Folk artist Kathy Jakobsen's best seller This Land
Is Your Land (Little, Brown) is now in it's 3rd printing.
The new edition includes a CD of Arlo and Woody singing
9 tracks. This book is so special, it's going to be around
a long, long time. Thank you to all these writers for getting
Woody's message out to the next generations!
Curriculum for Elementary School Teachers: And for all
you teachers out there, we recently launched a teacher's curriculum
written by Theresa Kubasak for elementary school children.
Theresa interned at the Archives this summer and we are excited
about this new service to educators. Check
Films: Some interesting and important new documentaries
are in the works that relate to Woody's songs in various ways;
1913 Massacre (the story behind the song), Broken
Sky (the story behind Plane Wreck at Los Gatos/ Deportee),
a film based on the Sacco and Vanzetti events and The
Ballad of Isaac Woodward (included in a film about Orson
finally, the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibit
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF WOODY GUTHRIE,
which reached thousands of people throughout the country in
its three-and- a-half years of touring, made its farewell
appearance at Oklahoma City's Historical Society. Unbelievably,
the opening of the exhibit sparked the discovery of Woody's
mother's previously unknown gravesite! We have arranged for
the museum to continue to display a significant part of the
original exhibit and will collaborate with them on future
educational exhibits and programs. We are touched that Oklahoma
has reclaimed and embraced her native son. Okemah, OK
held its 5th Annual Woody Guthrie Free Folk Festival
this summer and Texas became the next-in- line family member
with the official opening of its Pampa's Tribute to Woody
it easy, but take it.
*All images and text are copyrighted by Woody Guthrie Publications.