Friday, July 14, 2006

Woody Guthrie

This is a photo from the 2005 Woody Guthrie Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma.

Essentially every American who has listened to the radio, or gone to summer camp, knows Woody Guthrie's “This Land is Your Land.”Public television’s “American Masters” series was devoted to Woody Guthrie this week. Wichita’s KPTS (Channel 8) aired the program this Wednesday July 11. I was only able to catch bits and pieces , but I was able to tape the program for close viewing later on.

And if you want a more contemporary take on Woody visit Woody's hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma sometime during annual Woody Guthrie Free Folk Music Festival. (July 12-16 this year.) With one exception everything about the festival is free. The exception is a Wednesday night fundraiser. This year features Arlo Guthrie's 40th Anniversary Alice's Restaurant Massacree Tour. Every event Thursday through Saturday is free. The musicians perform for free, but they are no amateurs. And don't let the July heat keep you away. Morning and afternoon sessions are held in the legendary Crystal Theater and the Brick Street Cafe in downtown Okemah.

I was able to go last year on Saturday and found it most enjoyable and I'm far from being a folk music fanatic. To top things off, I bought a raffle ticket and won a Taylor guitar.

If you’d like to know more about Woody, there’s a very nice article by Rob Collins from the Oklahoma Gazette or biographies by Joe Klein (Woody Guthrie: A Life) and Ed Cray (Ramblin’ Man). Two good sources for Woody CDs are Smithsonian Folkways and the Woody Guthrie Foundation.

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