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July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967
Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie, composer of This Land Is Your Land, wrote over 3,000 songs in his lifetime and is considered by many to be the "father of American folk music". Known as "The Dust Bowl Balladeer," he was born in Okemah, Oklahoma, and spent years traveling throughout the U.S. before moving to New York City in 1940. While Guthrie lived here from December 1942 to May 1943, he wrote patriotic, anti-Fascist songs supporting the U.S. role in WWII, and played music with friends including blues icon Lead Belly, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Guthrie popularized a new approach to songwriting, telling stories of hardship and hopes, where topics such as workers' rights, social injustices, historic events, civil rights, and political issues became the foundation for musical creativity and expression. His influence has inspired generations of musicians in every genre of music.
New York, NY 10014