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My musical heroes are people like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie who wrote and sang real songs for real people; for everyone, old, young, and in between.
What created democracy was Thomas Paine and Shays' Rebellion, the suffragists and the abolitionists and on down through the populists and the labor movement, including the Wobblies. Tough, in your face people... Mother Jones, Woody Guthrie... Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez. And now it's down to us.
I came along and was a teenager in the Depression, and nobody had jobs. So I went out hitchhiking, when I met a man named Woody Guthrie. He was the single biggest part of my education.
Then about 12 years ago it dawned on me that folk music - the music of Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs, early Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger - could be as heavy as anything that comes through a Marshall stack. The combination of three chords and the right lyrical couplet can be as heavy as anything in the Metallica catalogue.
What I'm doing is basically the same as Bob Dylan did with folk songs and Woody Guthrie songs, the same as folk music's always done. I'm not going to sing about ploughing, but I'll write a song that sounds like it should be about ploughing.
Justin Townes Earle
I was in my late 20s, in the process of shaping my musical outlook and what I wanted it to be about, when I first encountered Woody Guthrie.
It sounds like something from a Woody Guthrie song, but it's true; I was raised in a freight car.
Like most kids, I grew up singing 'This Land Is Your Land' in grammar school, but with the most radical verses neatly removed. This was before I knew it was a Woody Guthrie song.
A lot of Woody Guthrie's songs were taken from other songs. He would rework the melody and lyrics, and all of a sudden it was a Woody Guthrie song.
Even with politics, stuff comes around again. Woody Guthrie would recognize America today.
People were talking about songs of the common man in order to make the common man. With Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly, they were so common it was just uncommon.
My father was a painter. There was a lot of singing. We hung around with a lot of folk musicians. My family knew a lot of great folk musicians of the time, like Woody Guthrie, Paul Robeson, Leadbelly. They were all people we knew.
I can remember back as far as age 8, performing with the Boston Folk Song Society. It was a Woody Guthrie song.
I went to a performance of 'The Crucible' at the Guthrie when I was a sophomore in high school, and I knew right away that that's what I wanted to do.
I have two mini huskies called Woody Guthrie and Edison Guthrie.
We don't need another Woody. Even Bob Dylan knew he couldn't be Woody Guthrie... I like Woody Guthrie fine, but I don't need the 50th generation version of it.
Irish fathers still have certain responsibilities, and by the time my two daughters turned seven, they could swim, ride a bike, sing at least one part of a Woody Guthrie song, and recite all of W. B. Yeats's 'The Song of Wandering Aengus.'
I got a phone call from Douglas Campbell and from Jerome Guthrie, who offered me a job out of the blue.
Though I acted in hundreds of productions, appeared at the Guthrie Theatre and on Broadway in Amadeus, I discovered in my thirties that I didn't really like stage acting. The presence of the audience, the eight shows a week and the possibility of a long run were all unnatural to me.
A lot of my training is in classical theatre; I've done a lot of classical plays in New York and also at the Guthrie and here and there across the country.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Leonardo da Vinci
Alexander the Great
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