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Spectacular Tribute to Woody Guthrie at Los Angeles Concert Honoring Legendary Icon

April 16, 2012

On Saturday night, April 14, 2012, downtown Los Angeles’ Club Nokia was the scene of a joyous celebration of the life and times of Woody Guthrie in a concert bill as, “This Land is Your Land – The Woody Guthrie Centennial Concert.”

The concert was a culmination of Los Angeles events and part of a nationwide year-long series of conferences, concerts, and museum exhibits celebrating the centennial of Woody Guthrie’s birth.  Other local events included the naming the intersection of Fifth and Main streets in downtown LA, not far from Skid Row, as “Woody Guthrie Square” and a day-long conference with discussions at the University of Southern California that explored Woody Guthrie’s rise to fame in depression-era Los Angeles.

Jackson Browne & John Henry

The rousing concert included performances from Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Dawes, John Doe, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Johnny Irion, Joe Henry, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Morello, Van Dyke Parks, Joel Rafael, Cindy Wasserman and Rob Wasserman.

The festivities appropriately began with Sarah Lee Guthrie (Woody’s granddaughter and Arlo’s daughter) and Johnny Irion launching into “Union Maid.” “Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union, I’m sticking to the union ’til the day I die.”

Following were one after another of remarkable renditions of Guthrie’s classics, as well as new songs in which a number of these artists put music to writings by Guthrie that were not previously published.

Tom Morello

Tom Morello, whose performances blew the roof off Club Nokia, said it best stating to the crowd that Woody Guthrie was “the spirit that inhabits social-justice movements around the world.”

The music tells the story best. Following are a list of links to the videos I shot of the concert. Click on the songs to view and enjoy. You won’t be disappointed:

> The Ghost of Tom Joad, Tom Joad, Ease My Revolutionary Mind – Tom Morello
> Which Side Are You On? – Jackson Browne
Almost Gone (Ballad Of Bradley Manning) – Graham Nash
> Do Re Mi – John Doe, Val McCallum & Cindy Wasserman
> Pastures of Plenty – Van Dyke Parks
> New York Town – Joe Henry & Jackson Browne
> Here Comes That Rainbow – Kris Kristofferson

> Ramblin’ Round – Joe Henry & Kris Kristofferson
> There’ll Be No Church Tonight –  Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion
> Bound for Glory – Entire Ensemble
> This Land is Your Land (Rousing Finale) – Entire Ensemble

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