Woody Guthrie Foundation

Woody Guthrie Foundation

The Woody Guthrie Foundation, founded in 1972, is a non-profit organization that serves as administrator and caretaker of the Woody Guthrie Archives. Dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of information about Guthrie's vast cultural legacy, the Woody Guthrie Archives, which opened to the public in 1996 at West 57th St, New York City, houses the largest collection of Woody Guthrie material in the world.

On September 6, 2007, Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc., in cooperation with the Woody Guthrie Foundation released The Live Wire: Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949, accompanied by a 72-page book describing the performance and the project. Paul Braverman, a student at Rutgers University in 1949, made the recordings himself using a small wire recorder at a Guthrie concert in Newark, New Jersey. On February 10, 2008, the release was the recipient of a Grammy Award in the category Best Historical Album.

Foundation Director Nora Guthrie has opened up the Foundation's archives to musicians of many types. Musicians have been allowed not only to create cover versions of the Woody Guthrie songs housed in the archives but also to write and record music for the many hundreds of Woody Guthrie's written lyrics. Following Woody Guthrie's death, many of these lyrics were without surviving melodies, as Woody did not write musical notation and never recorded (or taught anyone) the majority of his original compositions.

In 1995, Nora Guthrie had invited alternative folk-rocker Billy Bragg to select some lyrics from the archive to be set to music and then to be recorded commercially. Bragg subsequently invited the alt-country band Wilco to help complete the project. Wilco and Bragg released 2 acclaimed "Mermaid Avenue" albums in 1998 and 2000, using Woody's lyrics set to their own musical compositions. Also, a film documentary Man in the Sand. was released documenting not only the making of the Mermaid Avenue albums but also Bragg's exploration of Woody Guthrie's origins in hometown Okemah, Oklahoma. Many other collaborative projects by others have followed.

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Famous quotes containing the words woody guthrie, foundation, woody and/or guthrie:

    Dylan used to sound like a lung cancer victim singing Woody Guthrie. Now he sounds like a Rolling Stone singing Immanuel Kant.
    —Also quoted in Robert Shelton, No Direction Home, ch. 2, “Prophet Without Honor” (1986)

    The poet needs a ground in popular tradition on which he may work, and which, again, may restrain his art within the due temperance. It holds him to the people, supplies a foundation for his edifice; and, in furnishing so much work done to his hand, leaves him at leisure, and in full strength for the audacities of his imagination.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    In writing songs I’ve learned as much from C├ęzanne as I have from Woody Guthrie.
    Bob Dylan [Robert Allen Zimmerman] (b. 1941)

    This land is your land, this land is my land,
    From California to the New York Island.
    From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
    This land was made for you and me.
    —Woody Guthrie (1912–1967)