Jim James, Jay Farrar, Wilco, Flaming Lips and others Celebrate Woody Guthrie

“The main thing is that Woody’s always standing up for the little guy – the people who are being oppressed. It’s not just a civil rights thing. He’s always standing on the side of the people.”
– Wayne Coyne to Tulsa World

Woody Guthrie 100 is celebrating the centennial birth year of the iconic American singer/ writer with numerous projects under the direction of his daughter, Norah Guthrie.

Among them:

  • This Land Is Your Land – A Woody Guthrie Centennial Concert: The GRAMMY Museum Presents an all-ages event featuring The Flaming Lips, Jackson Browne, Old Crow Medicine Show, John Mellencamp, Del McCoury Band, Rosanne Cash, Hanson, Arlo Guthrie and others at 7:30 PM on March 10th at Brady Theater.  Buy tickets here.  In a (highly recommended) Tulsa World article by Jen Chancellor, Wayne Coyne revealed The Flaming Lips plan to team up with Jackson Browne for a cover of Guthrie’s “Vigilante Man,” and hinted at other surprises as well: “I think we’ll get there and meet people and make friends. The fellows are all such good musicians, I’m hoping we’ll be able to do a couple of things.”  (Sidenote – check out the image above from a 1987 Flaming Lips poster proudly displaying their Okie connection to Guthrie).
  • New Multitudes: a collaboration between Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo), Yim Yames (aka Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk), Will Johnson (Centro-matic) and Anders Parker setting unpublished Guthrie lyrics to their new, original music (ala Mermaid Avenue). They’ve made two collections for Rounder Records.  The first – in stores March 6th – can be streamed here. The second, a bonus disc, is due later this year. The same artists are also touring under the New Multitudes name, including a Daytrotter session and an appearance at the Newport Folk Festival (which also features a Guthrie Family Reunion, My Morning Jacket, Iron and Wine, Dawes, The Head and The Heart, Conor Oberst, Deer Tick, Punch Brothers and more).



  • The Mermaid Avenue box set: the March release date reported here and elsewhere last year has been pushed to Record Store Day – April 21, 2012. The box includes both previously released Wilco/ Billy Bragg albums (from 1998 and 2000, featuring their original music written to unpublished lyrics by Guthrie), plus a third disc of outtakes as well as 1999’s Man In The Sand documentary (watch excerpts below).
    The AV Club posted the album cover and third disc track list:
  1. Bugeye Jim
  2. When The Roses Bloom Again
  3. Gotta Work
  4. My Thirty Thousand
  5. Ought To Be Satisfied Now
  6. Listening To The Wind That Blows
  7. Go Down To The Water
  8. Chain Of Broken Hearts
  9. Jailcell Blues
  10. Don’t You Marry
  11. Give Me A Nail
  12. The Jolly Banker
  13. Union Prayer
  14. Be Kind To The Boy On The Road
  15. Ain’ta Gonna Grieve
  16. Tea Bag Blues
  17. I’m Out To Get
  • Note of Hope: Rob Wasserman collaborated with an all-star panel (Lou Reed, Van Dyke Parks, Pete Seeger, Tom Morello, Michael Franti, Ani Difranco, Madeleine Peyroux, Kurt Elling, Studs Terkel, Nellie McKay, Chris Whitley, Tony Trischka, and Jackson Browne) that set yet more unpublished Guthrie lyrics to new music. Released September 27, 2011 on 429 Records, MySpace’s official album stream is here if you can get it to work… Listen to NPR’s review here.
  • The Complete Woody Guthrie: new Woody box by Smithsonian Folkways Records
  • My Name Is New York: Woody with Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Sonny Terry, Leadbelly, Josh White, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Mary Guthrie Boyle, Marjorie Guthrie, Mike and Ruthy, Bess Lomax, Tiny Robinson, Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, Lowry Hamner and more; narrated by Nora Guthrie; due May 2012 on Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc.
  • There’s also smaller events and books ongoing throughout the year (check events info at woody100.com, book info at woody100.com/newreleases) as well as the documentary film 1913 MASSACRE by Ken Ross & Louis V. Galdieri

Additionally, The George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa plans to honor Woody’s legacy with an exhibition and study center, as recently explained in the NY Times:

Bound for Local Glory at LastNY Times, December 27, 2011: “Oklahoma has always had a troubled relationship with her native son Woody Guthrie. The communist sympathies of America’s balladeer infuriated local detractors. In 1999 a wealthy donor’s objections forced the Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City to cancel a planned exhibition on Guthrie organized by the Smithsonian Institution. It wasn’t until 2006, nearly four decades after his death, that the Oklahoma Hall of Fame got around to adding him to its ranks. But as places from California to the New York island get ready to celebrate the centennial of Guthrie’s birth, in 2012, Oklahoma is finally ready to welcome him home. The George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa plans to announce this week that it is buying the Guthrie archives from his children and building an exhibition and study center to honor his legacy…. The archive includes the astonishing creative output of Guthrie during his 55 years. There are scores of notebooks and diaries written in his precise handwriting and illustrated with cartoons, watercolors, stickers and clippings; hundreds of letters; 581 artworks; a half-dozen scrapbooks; unpublished short stories, novels and essays; as well as the lyrics to the 3,000 or more songs he scribbled on scraps of paper, gift wrap, napkins, paper bags and place mats. Much of the material has rarely or never been seen in public, including the lyrics to most of the songs. Guthrie could not write musical notation, so the melodies have been lost…. The foundation, which paid $3 million for the archives, is planning a kickoff celebration on March 10, with a conference in conjunction with the University of Tulsa and a concert sponsored by the Grammy Museum featuring his son Arlo Guthrie and other musicians…”








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