New York, NY -- Woody Guthrie at 100 Live at the Kennedy Center pays homage to the artistry of American folk musician Woody Guthrie. This new CD+DVD commemorative package captures the historic all-star concert staged in his honor last October in Washington, DC. Featuring performances from Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, Judy Collins, Jeff Daniels (reading a letter, not singing), Ani DiFranco, Donovan, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, John Mellencamp, Tom Morello, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lucinda Williams, and many others, the set will be available June 11, 2013 through Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.
The release coincides with the televised premiere of Woody Guthrie at 100 Live at the Kennedy Center in June on PBS. (Check your local listings.) The CD+DVD package features eight performances not seen in the one-hour PBS broadcast, including two spoken word performances from actor Jeff Daniels and six musical performances from Old Crow Medicine Show, Jimmy LaFave, Rosanne Cash, Lucinda Williams, Judy Collins, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Tracklists for the CD and DVD differ so see full details below.
In October 2012 (the same month as the concert), Woody Guthrie: Ain't Got No Home, written, produced and directed by Peter Frumkin as part of the award-winning American Masters biography series, premiered on PBS.
The commemorative CD+DVD release will include a 12-page booklet containing rare photographs and a personal note from Woody's daughter, Nora Guthrie, who administers the non-profit Woody Guthrie Foundation & Archives, and Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. Cover art for the CD+DVD package is based on artist Shepard Fairey's screen print designed for the 2012 Woody Guthrie Centennial.
Woody Guthrie at 100 Live at the Kennedy Center presents the ultimate live collection of the most famous songs written and (mostly) recorded by Woody Guthrie (b. July 14, 1912 – d. Oct. 3, 1967). They are performed by artists who have all proclaimed Woody's influence on their craft down the years. The set starts with a familiar pair from Nashville's Old Crow Medicine Show ("Howdi Do," "Union Maid"), followed by touchstones from Judy Collins ("Pastures Of Plenty"), Jimmy LaFave ("Hard Travelin'"), Donovan (the children's favorite, "Riding In My Car"), Ani DiFranco ("Deportee" aka "Plane Wreck At Los Gatos"), Sweet Honey In The Rock ("I've Got To Know"), and Ramblin' Jack Elliott ("1913 Massacre").
Rosanne Cash delivers a pair of Woody's finest ("I Ain't Got No Home" and "Pretty Boy Floyd"); likewise John Mellencamp, an avowed Woody Guthrie disciple, offers up one of his favorites ("Do Re Mi"). Bluegrass giants the Del McCoury Band team with singer-songwriter Tim O'Brien on "So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh" and special guest Tony Trischka (on banjo) joins the group for Woody's only instrumental song, "Woody's Rag." The entire cast takes the stage to close the concert with "This Train Is Bound For Glory" and, of course, Woody's timeless "This Land Is Your Land."
Over the past two decades, at the invitation of Nora Guthrie, contemporary musicians have composed music to Woody's previously unpublished lyrics. Several of these artists presented their new songs at the concert, including Joel Rafael ("Ramblin' Reckless Hobo") and Lucinda Williams ("House Of Earth"). In collaboration with Nora Guthrie, bassist/producer Rob Wasserman assembled a full album of these new songs in 2011, Note of Hope . Two artists reprise their contributions from that album, namely Jackson Browne ("You Know The Night") and Tom Morello ("Ease My Revolutionary Mind").
The final contributor to Woody Guthrie at 100 Live at the Kennedy Center is Woody himself. The DVD bonus features include rare footage of Woody singing "John Henry," "Ranger's Command" and "Greenback Dollar," as well as spoken pieces by Woody (and others) that are illustrated by archival photographs and documentary footage. These portraits of Woody are reminders of how the songs of Okemah, Oklahoma's favorite son took off around the world like a fast train on a well-oiled track.
Woody Guthrie at 100 Live at the Kennedy Center is the chronicle of a major, post-modern hootenanny. It took place in Washington, DC, on October 14, 2012, and was the culmination of the yearlong celebration, following events in Woody's native Oklahoma, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and New York. Over 75 subsequent centennial events (dozens of concerts, tributes and dedications in folk, jazz and classical realms, conferences, seminars, exhibits, dance festivals, a stage musical) took place across the U.S. and Canada – "From California to the New York Island" – and across the UK and Europe. Most of those events, as well as the Kennedy Center concert, were organized and presented by the GRAMMY® Museum, in association with Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. and the Woody Guthrie Foundation & Archives.
Playing a major role in the centennial campaign is Robert Santelli, Executive Director of the GRAMMY® Museum in Los Angeles, which curated the Woody Guthrie Centennial. Santelli is the award-winning author of This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song (Running Press, 2012), and co-editor of Hard Travelin': The Life and Legacy of Woody Guthrie (Wesleyan, 1999). Santelli also co-produced and co-annotated Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial (Smithsonian Folkways). The coffee table-sized, 3-CD (and 150-page book) box set was released July 10, 2012, four days before Woody's actual 100th birth date on July 14 th. The box set went on to win this year's Grammy Award® for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package.
In February 2013, HarperCollins published House Of Earth, a previously unpublished completed manuscript by Woody Guthrie that has been lost to readers since its creation in 1947. The book was edited and introduced by presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp, and published on Depp's imprint, Infinitum Nihil. House Of Earth finally provides a complement to Woody's classic autobiography Bound For Glory (E.P. Dutton, 1943), a book that has exerted enormous influence on generations of musicians around the world, including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg, Joe Strummer, and countless others.
Woody Guthrie at 100 Live at the Kennedy Center is produced and directed by four-time Emmy Award-winner Jim Brown of Ginger Group Productions. Brown, an associate professor at NYU's Tisch School Of the Arts, is one of America's most accomplished music documentary filmmakers, with a concentration in American folk music, and has created some of the most enduring films in that genre. He received Emmys for The Weavers: Wasn't That A Time! (1981), We Shall Overcome (1989), and Pete Seeger: The Power of Song (2007). Two of Brown's films, A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly (1988) and Songs Of the Civil War (1991), were released with Columbia Records CD counterparts. Other titles include Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin' (1984), Pete Seeger Family Concert (1991), Peter, Paul, and Mary: Carry It on - A Musical Legacy (2004), and two Harry Belafonte films, An Evening with Harry Belafonte & Friends (1997), and the biography, Sing Your Song (2011). Most of Jim Brown's folk music films are very familiar to PBS viewers, as a result of being screened frequently for decades.
"Woody Guthrie never forgot about the people for whom the American Dream was far out of reach," Santelli has written. "It was as if he had made a promise blessed in blood never to ignore the plight of the struggling American, no matter who he was, where he came from, or why he had hit hard times. Woody Guthrie sought to be the voice of the jobless, the homeless, and voiceless. And he was. Here's hoping that Woody and his songs continue to be that voice for the next hundred years."
Woody Guthrie at 100 Live at the Kennedy Center CD+DVD (Legacy Recordings 88883 72809 2 1)
* Bonus track which does not appear in televised PBS special
Visit LegacyRecordings.com for more information or to purchase this special collection. – Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal
– Joel Rafael