Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Happy Birthday: Woody

Woody Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912. To celebrate his life and music, the Eighth Annual Free Woody Guthrie festival will be held in his hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma from July 14-17. Although the musicians perform for free, a truly outstanding roster of regional and national acts are lined up to perform. Okemah is 70 miles east of Oklahoma City on I-40.

During his lifetime, Woody's left-wing politics made him damn unpopular in his home state. But since 2001 a Woody tune has been the official state folk song. (Oklahoma covers all bases with an official song, an official folk song, an official country and western song, and an official children's song.) It's not one of his political songs. "Oklahoma Hills" was actually a hit on the country charts back in the 1940s performed (and co-written) by Woody's cousin, Jack Guthrie, who was as All Music notes "one of the most important and influential country singers of the mid-'40s."

Some Woody Resources:

Library of Congress bio
Searchlight tribute (the leading UK anti-fascist, anti-racist group)
Official Woody Guthrie Homepage (WG Foundation, run by Woody's family it seems)

Booking Woody If you are interested in bringing a Woody Guthrie event to your school, library, organization, the Woody Guthrie Foundation has a bunch of exciting programs available.
I'll be attending on Saturday and promise some photographs and a report.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jim Devine for catching my orignal and inexplicable substitution of the erroneous August for July when I posted this on Wednesday AM and a similar message on the LBO discussion list.

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