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Note of Hope: A Celebration of Woody Guthrie


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Note of Hope: A Celebration of Woody Guthrie + Woody Guthrie at 100 (CD/DVD)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 27, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 429 Records
  • ASIN: B005ARYEFK
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,779 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Note of Hope (feat. Van Dyke Parks)
2. Wild Card In The Hole (feat. Madeleine Peyroux)
3. Ease My Revolutionary Mind (feat. Tom Morello)
4. The Debt I Owe (feat. Lou Reed)
5. Union Love Juice (feat. Michael Franti)
6. Peace Pin Boogie (feat. Kurt Elling)
7. Voice (feat. Ani DiFranco)
8. I Heard A Man Talking (feat. Studs Terkel)
9. Old Folks (feat. Nellie McKay)
10. On The High Lonesome (feat. Chris Whitley)
11. There's A Feeling In Music (feat. Pete Seeger & Tony Trischka)
12. You Know The Night (feat. Jackson Browne)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Woody's centenary is 2012, and this is the inaugural event celebrating the occasion. Co-produced by Woody's daughter Nora, this album features unpublished lyrics by the folk icon set to original music by Lou Reed ( The Debt I Owe ), Van Dyke Parks ( The Note of Hope ), Jackson Browne ( You Know the Night ), Ani Di Franco ( Voice ), Pete Seeger, Tom Morello, Kurt Elling and more!

Review

Jackson Browne and Rob Wasserman are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birth by releasing "You Know the Night," a new piece of music based on a 30-page notebook entry penned by the revered songwriter just after meeting the woman who would become his second wife. "There's a great photo of me with like 12 sheets of music taped to two stands and trying to sing this stuff and figure out when to sing, so in a way it was a real editing job," Browne told Rolling Stone. "There wasn't too much you could take out because it's his story."

"You Know the Night" has been edited down to four minutes for radio, but the full performance - and the version that will appear on Notes of Hope, a collection of other musical interpretations of his writing - clocks in at just under 15 minutes. "The four-minute version came out really good but the 15-minute version is, like, impossible to cut down," says Browne. "We took out all the biographical stuff, really. They should be providing everybody with both."

"[Guthrie] used to bully people's spirits," Browne says. "The people he sang for needed that. People he sang for needed to hear that one, they were not alone and two, there's better times possible down the road. So, this song, the 15-minute version, is infused with that. There is something about him sitting on a park bench and playing with the curls of this beautiful girl's hair and talking about what kind of life they wanted. I think it's so universal. It's what people do when they fall in love. It's gigantic. It's a love song but at the same time a kind of an idealist trek."

Reporting by Patrick Doyle -- Rolling Stone, August 26, 2011

On September 27, 429 Records will release Note Of Hope, an album of Woody Guthrie's writings set to music by artists like Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, Tom Morello and Pete Seeger, and spearheaded by Grammy-winning bassist Rob Wasserman. We spoke with bassist Wasserman about the ten years he spent working on the project, collaborating with Lou Reed, and whether or not Woody Guthrie would make a good rapper.

How did you get involved with the Note Of Hope album?

About 10 years ago, I was performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Bob Weir-we were doing a tribute to Robert Johnson with a bunch of other musicians. I also did a solo performance the next day and Nora Guthrie basically came up to me and asked if I'd like to work with her dad's words and come up with a more stripped down bass and voice project. She had a vision for something a little more sparse and spontaneous .

I was so happy and excited because actually for years I was a huge Woody Guthrie appreciator -- I read his book and was really inspired by him when I was a young kid, before I even played music, and it was sort of unusual that that would happen. Especially coming up to an instrumentalist after an hour bass performance, but I guess she just heard something that I could take to her words. They were unpublished, these journals, and then she started sending me words after that, and that's how it all started. -- American Songwriter, August 25th, 2011

Woody Guthrie, one of music's most important songwriters who inspired everyone from Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to any aspiring musician who picked up a guitar, would've turned 100 next July. Now, his estate is planning plenty of tributes to mark the centennial occasion in 2012. Lou Reed, Tom Morello, Jackson Browne, Ani DiFranco, Nellie McKay, and more will pay tribute to Guthrie, who died in 1967, on an all-star tribute album, set to be released next year. Wilco, Billy Bragg, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, and others are also planning tributes (via TwentyFourBit).

Note of Hope: A Celebration of Woody Guthrie is the first to mark the occasion, and will be released on September 27 by 429 Records. Grateful Dead and Ratdog bassist Rob Wasserman is leading the charge: he will be collaborating on all tracks and the contributors will set new music to lost Guthrie lyrics, which were discovered by Woody's daughter, Nora.

"The words Nora found are timeless and more relevant than ever -- it seems like Woody could see the future," Wasserman said in a statement. A full tracklisting is below -- head here to check out Browne's contribution.

What's more, Wilco's collaborative albums with Billy Bragg, titled Mermaid Avenue, will be reissued as a box set in 2012. The two-part records found them setting new music to lost Guthrie lyrics. It is slated for release next spring. And while details have not been revealed, the reissue will include an outtakes disc and the 1999 making-of documentary titled Man in the Sand.

Ex-Uncle Tupelo's Jay Farrar, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Will Johnson, and Anders Parker, meanwhile, will take a similar approach to Wilco's project with a collaborative album, as well, due out via Rounder Records next January. -- Spin, August 26, 2011

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John C. Bergeron on October 6, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Anyone who might happen to read my other reviews will quickly recognize my unabashed devotion to the artistry of Jackson Browne, and it is unquestionably his mesmerizing contribution to this project that initially captured my attention. It should come as no surprise then that "You Know the Night" is, for me, the anchor of this extremely eclectic body of work. Artists as diverse as Ani DiFranco, Studs Terkel and Nellie McKay contribute to this centennial tribute to the great Woody Guthrie. The workings of WG's words and music will seem arcane and, in many instances, far removed from what you (or he!) might have thought imaginable, but in a very real sense I consider this to be the ultimate tribute. It is daunting (not to mention a little depressing) to try to picture what we might be listening to were it not for seminal artists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Browne himself. Well, taking one step further back, it's impossible to picture how they might have evolved were it not for Woody and so many of his contemporaries. I guess what I'm saying is that while this recording may seem a bit spotty to some, I consider it to be a tribute in the richest and most accurate sense of the word. Art is about broadening vistas, and, for the most part, the artists represented here demonstrate the very personal and profound impact another troubador's vision has had on their own.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mahir Ali on October 14, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
THE celebrations marking the birth centenary of Woody Guthrie - a singer-songwriter long before the category had been invented - have kicked off with an album that conceptually echoes Billy Bragg and Wilco's collaboration on the two Mermaid Avenue albums in the late 1990s. As inaugural fireworks go, it's a spectacular album that has been in the making for more than a decade. The task of creating it was entrusted by Guthrie's daughter Nora to innovative and eclectic bassist Rob Wasserman, who was musically nurtured in a tradition that bore little resemblance to the quintessential American folk singer's rural roots. A further challenge lay in the fact that the unpublished texts Nora Guthrie chose came from journals and poems: they were never intended to be sung. That makes the resultant achievement even more stupendous. Following an overture, a Wasserman instrumental embellished by Van Dyke Parks, we are straight into Madeleine Peyroux singing: "Times are gittin hard, folks;/ They might get harder still; No matter who wins office/ In that Big House on the hill." It dates back to the Truman era but could have been written yesterday. The same could be said about many of the tracks, not least The Debt I Owe, extracted by Lou Reed from a 10-page dissertation. Jackson Browne, in tackling a 30-page recollection of the night Guthrie first met Marjorie Mazia, the Martha Graham dancer who became his second wife, was less choosy; the result is a nearly 15-minute song that, unless the listener happens to be a huge Browne fan, struggles to command sustained attention. At about one-third the length, it works much better as a radio edit that can be heard on the woodyguthrie.org website.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Ramsey on October 10, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I've been waiting for this album for a very long time. I'll admit it, I'm fanatically attracted to the creativity of albums like Mermaid Avenue (1998) where singers have written new tunes to go with the hitherto unpublished lyrics of Woody Guthrie. At last, what was originally to be bassist Rob Wasserman's "My Name Is New York" is here, re-titled, after 12 years of work.

Surprisingly though, this is not really an album of Woody Guthrie song-lyrics set to music. The Woody Guthrie Archives (Nora Guthrie) hooked up with Rob Wasserman to provide musical background for some of Woody's prose pieces, a lot of them something like 20 pages long. So then a gaggle of dissimilar vocalists (and at least one non-musician) were brought in. A broad range of blues/jazz/rock/et-cetera instrumental backing tracks were laid down. The vocalists worked the texts into some different approaches, from straight narration through kind of a hybrid of talking blues and/or poetry slam, to actual musical tunes. Almost all the pieces are edited down to a performance length of 3 to 6 minutes each. There's an instrumental track at the beginning of the album, apparently "inspired" by Woody's words, and also it works in a fleeting suggestion of one of Woody's most well known songs, "Pastures of Plenty". This functions as sort of an overture, and I guess it's nice if you happen to like Van Dyke Parks (!).

The album ends with the only real full length treatment of one of the writings, a brilliant 14 minute fully musical adaptation by Jackson Browne encompassing 30 pages of Woody's writing about love and life. There's also available a 4-minute version of the Jackson Browne song, in case there are markets out there where this kind of thing can get some airplay. Good luck with that.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Triumph on October 10, 2011
Format: Audio CD
First of all, I love Jackson Browne and that's the reason I got this album. Even if Woody Guthrie was the greatest singer-song writer ever, he was not my cup of tea.. But I have to admit my misunderstanding. Soon after the first piece started off, I couldn't stop playing. His all lyrics and words like a stab in the chest to me. "You Know The Night" may well say so, but other pieces are also exceptional. Especially, "OLD FOLKS" by Nellie Mckay is amazing. It sounds perfect. Take my word for it this time and try!!!
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