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Woody Guthrie History

Woody Guthrie was born in Okemah, Oklahoma on July 14, 1912.  He taught himself to play guitar and harmonica early in life, and by the mid-1930s, had traveled to Texas and California where he gained notoriety on radio performing “old-time” and county music songs.  In the 1940s, ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax recorded Guthrie’s repertory for the Library of Congress; worked for the Bonneville Power Administration; wrote and performed music with Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers, and recorded songs for Folkways Records, including his most celebrated composition, “This Land is Your Land.”  During the 1950s and 1960s, appreciation for Guthrie’s music grew, having a profound influence on younger folk and rock artists including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Jack Elliott.  Guthrie died on October 3, 1967.

During his lifetime, Woody Guthrie composed nearly 3,000 songs; he also published two books created artwork, and wrote prose works, poems, plays and news articles. 

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