Bruce Springsteen was presented with the 2021 Woody Guthrie Prize on Thursday during a virtual ceremony made available exclusively for members of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Woody Guthrie Center.
According to Billboard, Springsteen revealed during an interview segment that he has a new California-inspired album on the way.
“California was an enormous influence on some of my most topical writing through my ’90s, 2000s and even now,” The Boss said. “We have a record coming out soon that’s set largely in the West.”
In accepting the prize, Springsteen noted, “I’ve always said that Bob Dylan was the father of my country, but [Woody Guthrie] was the grandfather of my country.”
The prize is given annually to an artist whose work reflects that of the late folk legend, who wrote compassionately about the struggles of common people and human rights.
Bruce, who was presented with the prize by Guthrie’s daughter Nora, said he discovered Woody’s music at age 28, while “going through a period in my life when I felt strangely hopeless.”
He told Nora, “It wasn’t until I came across your father’s work that I found that hope,” and added that Woody’s “was the first music where I found a reflection of America that I believed to be true.”
Springsteen also reflected on how he began performing Guthrie’s classic song “This Land Is Your Land” at his concerts in the 1980s.
“I was asking our audience to see us in a lineage of performers who were speaking to and for them and who had their eyes and lights set on a better world,” he explained.
To end the event, Bruce performed four songs: Woody’s “Tom Joad Part 2” and “Deportee,” and his own songs “Across the Border” and the Guthrie-inspired “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”
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