Courtesy of Woody Guthrie ArchivesSaturday marks what would have been Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday. The legendary folk singer , who **** in 1967 at age 55 from complications of Huntington's disease, influenced and inspired countless songwriters, including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. Among his many famous compositions are "This Land Is Your Land," "So Long, It's Been Good to Know You" and "The Grand Coulee Dam."
A wide variety of events have been taking place throughout the year to commemorate the milestone, including several that are being held this weekend.
In Guthrie's hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma, the 15th Woody Guthrie Folk Festival kicked off Wednesday and is running through Sunday. The concert's lineup for Saturday features such stars as Judy Collins and Melanie.
Also on Saturday, a series of free events are taking place in Coney Island, New York, where Guthrie lived for many years. The festivities will include an afternoon screening of the documentary Man in the Sand, which chronicles the making of the Mermaid Ave. Guthrie tribute albums by Billy Bragg and Wilco. An evening screening of the 1976 Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory is also planned. Before the showing of the latter film, Bragg and veteran Americana artist Steve Earle will give a short performance.
Then, on Sunday, Guthrie's son Arlo and various other family members will play a free concert in New York City as part of the Central Park Summerstage series.
Meanwhile, Mellencamp has written a special poem in honor of Woody's 100th birthday that was published in The New York ***** this past week. Here is an excerpt from the tribute:
"You know there's a certain kind of individual/ Who always takes the rough side/ The side that nobody else wants to take… This bird don't mind volunteering/ Is not afraid to lose/ Is too moral to be a *****/ And too honest to *****/
But cares enough to write it all down in song …./ This bird is Woody Guthrie/ And he dares you to fill his footprint/ And so do I."
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