Walking Woody's Road
“He was a man who picked up a guitar and used his voice, personality and common man language to speak to the human condition. We're really trying to showcase all facets of Woody Guthrie…He was so many things beside a songwriter—he was a painter, a philosopher, a soldier, a novelist, a supporter of the disenfranchised. His songs were just the tip of the iceberg. He was the spirit of America.” – Jimmy LaFave, tour originator
Walking Woody's Road captures the timeless heart, wit, soul, and spirit of the legendary and iconic American musician, author, artist, and philosopher, Woody Guthrie. In a performance that has been called “nothing short of brilliant,” renowned Austin, Texas singer/songwriter Jimmy LaFave brings a stellar cast of performers to assist him in paying tribute to the quintessential hard times troubadour. Walking Woody's Road is a musical event that should be experienced by music lovers of all ages and backgrounds. It celebrates the music and words of the one and only Woody Guthrie. His insights, stories and music traverse the emotional spectrum and resonate through the years so that we don't forget that their insights are timeless. The stellar cast of performers interprets his well-known and lesser-known words and music for a show that is musical, inspiring and thought provoking. The mission is to keep Guthrie's spirit alive for future generations…everyone should hear Guthrie's words and feel his spirit. These artists are carrying on the torch for a man with a simple, but profound message.
To keep the show fresh and evolving, the cast for the Walking Woody's Road show rotates artists with each tour as we explore new writings and songs that come to light, and find other musicians as affected by Woody’s music as Jimmy LaFave who has spearheaded the show. Born in Oklahoma in 1912, singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet, author, artist, philosopher and Dean of American Folk Artists, Woody Guthrie experienced many tragic and influential events in the Twentieth-Century—The Great Depression, The Great Dust Storm, WWII and the upheavals resulting from Unionism, the Communist Party and The Cold War. Woody’s life was not long, but in that time he wove his experiences into journals with drawings and songs. His work is protected and archived at the newly opened Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His daughter Nora, her daughter Anna, and a wonderful staff help keep the legacy of Woody available to all who want to know more about one of the greatest American folk heroes.
Woody left behind 70 recordings and over 2000 unrecorded lyrics. The archives have been instrumental in getting some of the unrecorded lyrics to musicians who give the lyrics new life with their own music. Some of these un-released and never-heard-before songs appear in the Walking Woody' Road show. The Woody Guthrie Archives are maintaining, and keeping watch over Woody’s legacy, music, art and words. Woody "hoboed" his way across that America to California, singing his songs to the homeless thousands who were left to fend for themselves in the migrant camps.
In 1952 he was diagnosed with Huntington’s chorea - an inherited degenerative neurological disorder. In the late 50s, early 60s, he was visited by many musicians including Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, influencing a whole new generation of songwriters. Sadly, on October 3, 1967, Woody Guthrie succumbed to Huntington’s at the age of 55.