New York Daily News: WNET's Tribute To Woody Guthrie Captures The Flexibility Of His Music
06.07.2013 - WNET's tribute to Woody Guthrie captures the flexibility of his music
John Mellencamp, Rosanne Cash, Tom Morello, Del McCoury and others honor music
legend at 'Woody Guthrie at 100: Live at the Kennedy Center'
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
John Mellencamp and other music greats will pay tribute to folk legend Woody
Title: Woody Guthrie at 100: Live at the Kennedy Center
Network / Air Date: WNET Ch. 13/Friday at 9 p.m.
What may be most impressive about this lovely centennial tribute to Woody
Guthrie is how well it captures the flexibility of his music.
It can be sung a capella by Sweet Honey in the Rock (“I’ve Got To Know”),
spun into bluegrass by Del McCoury and Tim O’Brien (“So Long, It’s Been Good To
Know Yuh”) or rocked up into a brilliantly raucous country tune by John
Mellencamp with “Do-Re-Mi.”
Mellencamp’s original rendition of that song on the wonderful 1988 Guthrie/Leadbelly
tribute record “A Vision Shared,” paved the way for Bruce Springsteen’s “Seeger
Sessions,” which reflected Bruce’s own love for Guthrie’s musical world.
John Mellencamp, seen here in 2009, rocks out Guthrie's “Do-Re-Mi” "Woody
Guthrie at 100: Live at the Kennedy Center."
Bruce isn’t on this special, but the music is plenty to carry the day, and as
always with Guthrie’s songs, the message lingers long after the last note.
If “Pretty Boy Floyd” romanticizes a thug — and Rosanne Cash sings it
knowingly here — Ani DiFranco’s “Deportee” captures all the inhumanity we often
show toward those we see as newer and lesser.
Donovan’s “Riding In My Car” is about nothing more than the restlessness of
kids on a road trip. Then in almost the same breath Guthrie could write the
witty, seldom-heard “Ease My Revolutionary Mind,” sung here by Tom Morello.
The show also features short interspersed bits of Guthrie’s prose, including
a famous bit read by Jeff Daniels on how Guthrie hated songs that made people
His goal, he said, was to make everyone proud of what and who they are, and what
This special shows how much reason Guthrie had to feel that way himself.