Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is preparing a new box set in honor of the Woody Guthrie Centennial. Called simply Woody at 100, it’s set for release on July 10, 2012, four days before the treasured musician would have turned 100 years old.
The label has already set up a pre-sale site featuring an instant album download, and a chance to hear a previously unreleased Woody Guthrie song called “Them Big City Ways”: folkways.si.edu/woodyat100.
Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie (1912–1967) wrote songs that became the soundtrack of an era and permanent fixtures of American identity. His early Dust Bowl ballads, along with more than 3,000 work songs, union and labor songs, political and philosophical songs, anti-war songs, anti-Nazi songs, love songs and children’s songs, marked the pulse of hard-hit people in times of economic depression and war. Many have embraced “This Land Is Your Land” as America’s second national anthem. Woody was ordinary, yet extraordinary — a traveler, itinerant worker, radio performer, military enlistee, thinking man, gifted visual artist, a husband and father, and prolific writer who left his mark on music, culture and politics.
Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection is a 150-page large-format book containing three CDs with 57 tracks, including Woody’s most important recordings such as the complete version of “This Land Is Your Land,” “Pretty Boy Floyd,” “Pastures of Plenty,” “Hard Travelin’,” “Jesus Christ,” “I Ain’t Got No Home in This World Anymore,” and “Riding in My Car.” The set also contains 21 previously unreleased performances and six never-before-heard original songs, including Woody’s first known — and recently discovered — recordings from 1939.
The book features essays by co-producers Robert Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum and author of “This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song,” and Jeff Place, Grammy-winning archivist for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and producer of several Woody Guthrie collections and exhibitions.
Woody100.com is a joint effort of The Grammy Museum, the Woody Guthrie Archives and Woody Guthrie Publications, created as a hub for all upcoming activities taking place across America and around the world, throughout 2012.