Woody's Road: Woody Guthrie's Letters Home, Drawings, Photos, and Other Unburied Treasures

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Book Info

  • Length: 192 pages
  • Trim size: 8 1/2" x 11"

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  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-219-9
  • Publish date: May 2012
  • List Price: $39.95
  • Your Price: $33.96

Lib Ebook

  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-367-7
  • Publish date: January 2013
  • List Price: $39.95
  • Your Price: $33.96


The father of American folk music, Woody Guthrie influenced generations of musicians and fans with his witty journalism and landmark songs, such as “This Land Is Your Land.”

Much has been written about Guthrie, yet nothing communicates who he was so well as the ideas that he set to paper with his own hand. This new biography is accompanied by a significant Guthrie family collection of rare Woody creations, many of which have never been seen before by the public.

These letters to family, photos, drawings, and lyrics reveal Woody’s budding personality as he grew from a young boy into a man of remarkable strength and character, becoming America’s most publicly visible political activist and the legendary musician who influenced Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Ani Di Franco, and so many others.

Few people realize that Woody’s sister, Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon, is alive and well to this day. She and Guthrie authority Guy Logsdon shed light on Woody’s early life and what formed his remarkably strong personality, as seen in his many poignant and impassioned letters, such as those reporting the death of his daughter in a New York fire. The considerable influence on Woody’s personality of his father Charlie Guthrie can now be traced in private letters and testimonials as Woody moves from his Texas years to roaming the USA, to military service, and to New York, where his national career bloomed as he became an accomplished spokesman.

Beyond the plain folksy wit of Woody the journalist and performer, we discover here the intensely intelligent and articulate man whose brilliance for the written word was perhaps overshadowed by his artistry in drawings, paintings, and musical performance.

Author Info

Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon, Woody’s sister, lives today near Okemah, Oklahoma, where she hosts, along with collaborator D. Jones, the annual, internationally acclaimed Woody Fest.

Guy Logsdon, who has written about Woody Guthrie in The Smithsonian and the liner notes for many of Woody Guthrie’s recordings, is the author of several books, including The Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing and Other Songs Cowboys Sing.

David Amram has composed more than one hundred orchestral and chamber works; written many scores for Broadway theater and film, including the classic scores for the films Splendor in the Grass and The Manchurian Candidate; composed two operas, including the ground-breaking Holocaust opera The Final Ingredient; and composed the score for the landmark 1959 documentary Pull My Daisy, narrated by Jack Kerouac. He is the author of the books Vibrations, an autobiography, Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac, and Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat."

A pioneer of jazz French horn and World Music, he is also a virtuoso on piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from twenty-five countries. He is also an inventive, funny improvisational lyricist. He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, who chose him as the New York Philharmonic’s first composer-in-residence in 1966, Langston Hughes, Dizzy Gillespie, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Odetta, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Charles Mingus, Wynton Marsalis, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Depp, Tito Puente, and many others. Amram’s most popular recent works are Giants of the Night, a flute concerto commissioned and premiered by Sir James Galway and dedicated to the memory of Charlie Parker, Jack Kerouac, and Dizzy Gillespie, and Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie.

Today, Amram continues to compose music while traveling the world as a conductor, soloist, band leader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages. He is currently collaborating with author Frank McCourt on Missa Manhattan, for narrator, chorus, and orchestra, and composing a new piano concerto. All of his concert music is published by C. F. Peters Corporation.


"I and so many of my musician friends are indebted to Woody for his lifelong commitment to social change and to the common man. These letters that Mary Jo has saved provide a new and open window to Woody’s early years and to the love he had for his family. It’s a rare and fascinating collection!"
Graham Nash, Artist

"Many of the documents included will appeal to fans and researchers. The letters Guthrie wrote to his family after the death of his child and letters about his success in the music business bring insight into Guthrie's personality and relationships... recommended for readers interested in the iconic musician."
Library Journal

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