Woody Guthrie at 100

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson Guthrie’s birth. I don’t have time to write much here – it’s all in the second chapter of the book anyway – so instead I refer you to Ed Vulliamy, Billy Bragg and this ringing endorsement from John Steinbeck:

He sings the songs of a people and I suspect that he is, in a way, that people. Harsh-voiced and nasal, his guitar hanging like a tire iron on a rusty rim, there is nothing sweet about Woody, and there is nothing sweet about the songs he sings. But there is something more important for those who will listen. There is the will of a people to endure and fight against oppression. I think we call this the American Spirit.