Library hosts free Woody Guthrie tribute
By Emily Sorensen
The Poway Library will be celebrating the 100th birthday of folk legend Woody Guthrie with a free concert 2 p.m. Saturday, July 14, as part of the Acoustic Showcase concert series at the library, 13137 Poway Road. The series is presented by the San Diego County Library system.
The concert will feature performances from Ross Moore, Jeff Bertino, Chris Clarke and Dane Terry, as well as possible performances from special guests.
“How could the Acoustic Showcase not do something for Woody’s birthday?” said Moore, who in addition to performing is also the series coordinator and organizer of this concert. Moore, a great admirer of Guthrie and his contributions to music and the folk scene, has done several programs on the life of Woody Guthrie over the past few years. “Poway is a great music community,” said Moore. Moore also said that since the Poway music scene is focused on folk music, he wanted to give the community a chance to celebrate Guthrie’s life.
“Woody Guthrie is considered America’s greatest folk singer,” said Moore. Mostly associated with his song “This Land is Your Land,” most of Guthrie’s work is political in nature. “He wrote songs about the Dust Bowl, and the Okies. He was associated with organizing unions. It put him in the whole Red Scare and communism movement,” said Moore. “He was not really political in that sense, he was just so wrapped up in the downtrodden.”
An inspiration to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, Guthrie’s influence can still be felt in the folk world today. “Woody Guthrie led to Bob Dylan,” said Moore. “And how can you imagine modern music without Bob Dylan?”
The library’s concert is just one of many events being held around the world, celebrating Guthrie’s centennial. “It’s an important marker, and I admire his music and the impact he had on American culture,” said Jeff Bertino of the Poway Folk Circle, who will also be performing at the concert. “Woody Guthrie was a seminal folk musician. It’s appropriate to come together and celebrate his music.”
In addition to performing Guthrie’s music, Moore and his fellow performers will also perform music by people Guthrie influenced. Moore will also be sharing stories of Guthrie’s life, which was marked by considerable tragedy. Guthrie had Huntington’s disease, probably inherited from his mother, and died in 1967 at the age of 55.
Moore also said that the library has invited any local area musicians to come by and perform in the tribute to Guthrie. “We’re hoping for some surprise guests,” said Moore.
If weather permits and there is a large turnout, Moore is planning to possibly move the concert outdoors to the courtyard, and encourages attendees to bring chairs.
The Acoustic Showcase concert series was recently honored with an award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards. Since the program began in 2009, 126 concerts have been held at 21 county library branches with a total of 6,218 attendees.
For more information on the Woody Guthrie 100th birthday tribute concert, call the Poway Library at 858-513-2900.
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