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Woody's New Release

Dead since 1967, folk hero Woody Guthrie has a new release.

The earthy poet and musician who became the voice of the underdog, Woody lives on in the hearts of Americans everywhere. Worrying that his legacy was being forgotten, his daughter Nora Guthrie, who is head of the Woody Guthrie Archives, began looking for ways to raise his profile.

Looking through the archives, she found thousands of undiscovered lyrics that had never been performed, that, in fact, Woody had never written music to.

She asked British folk rocker Billy Bragg — who, like Woody, is an intense singer who is also involved in politics — to create songs out of the lyrics. Wilco, the country-tinged American rock band, also got involved.

The result: "Mermaid Avenue," which will be released later this month on Elektra Records. The name stems from the street on Coney Island, in Brooklyn, where Woody was living when he wrote many of the songs.

Billy Bragg

"This is not a tribute album, but a genuine collaboration," Bragg said.

For her part, Nora is happy with the results, and has high hopes for the album. "I'm breathing life into the seeds that my father left behind," she says.

"He himself is a seed in our society. Out of Woody came Dylan, came Springsteen, came the Folk Revival. I'm the matchmaker between the people and Woody Guthrie."

Woody Lives: Home || Woody's New Release
Billy, Woody and Wilco On The Web

Written by Curtis Grisham and David Kohn

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