I have been enjoying Woodie Guthrie's music for some time now. Like most history, I received the cleaned up version of his life in school- singing "This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land" with my classmates and thinking nothing of it. Then as an adult I stumbled upon other, more activist songs like "Deportees" and my interest-antenna went up. The more I have read and listened to his music the more I have come to appreciate how far ahead of his time Woodie was, how much he placed his life in the hands of his art, and how much he tried to use his art to help others. Then I discovered this book written my his daughter that showcases the visual art he made. All in all, Woodie has risen to be one of my favorite artists in both mediums. I hope you can catch a glimpse of his art via this book either at your local bookstore or public library- like me you will hear different meanings in the lyrics of "This Land is Your Land."
Nora Guthrie summed up her dad, and I believe many of the artists featured in this blog when he said:
"Ever since the beginning of time there's always been the guys designated to carry the coal. Remember? See, when the tribe's fire went out, when they moved on, someone had to carry the last hot coal to start up the next fire with at the next campsite. They needed this fire to cook with, sleep near, and even for some good ol' talks and songs. Now, many of these coal holders, over time, became folk singers...... Like my dad, they do the work of carrying around the embers we still need to keep our present day tribes well fed, warm, still carin', still talkin' and still singin'. Sometimes it gets real cold out there (have you noticed) and it seems like the chilly wind is just going to blow us all off the map. A lot of people are feelin' the effects of the chill; no food, no shelter, no singin', no rights. And other people are chillin' inside; no warmth, no joy, no song, no tribe.
So these coal-holders are real important right now."