American singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie.

Woody Guthrie

(1912 - 1967)

Originally from Oklahoma, Woody Guthrie was named after then-governor of New Jersey Woodrow Wilson. Guthrie at the age of twenty-four left Texas for California during the Great Depression, walking, hitchhiking, and riding freight trains. He made his first recordings in New York, where he moved from Los Angeles in 1940 and joined a group of left-wing musicians that included Leadbelly and Pete Seeger. The recordings were made by folklorist Alan Lomax, who once said to Guthrie, “Your lumpenproletariat act is too much, Woody! Grow up!” He wrote around one thousand songs, among them “This Land Is Your Land” and “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Yuh.”

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