It’s Woody Guthrie’s World, and I’m Just Living in It

Woody GuthrieWoody Guthrie / James Ratcliffe / CC BY NC SA 2.0

This guest post comes from Anna Keneda, our resident music person.

I am writing a paper on the influence of music as a tool of cultural identity in immigrant communities (pretentious, right?), but it has made me reflect on how music has changed my perspective of who I am and the people I come from.

First off, I am from Oklahoma, the land of Garth Brookes; Mr. “we’ll put a boot in your ass ’cause it’s the American way” Toby Keith; and (most importantly) Woody Guthrie. I was lucky enough to have parents whose tastes lead me away from the musical gem that is Toby Keith (if you can’t already tell, he is the bane of my existence) and towards the original working man’s music of Woody. As a pre-schooler I memorized the little known third verse of “This Land is your Land” that says:

As I was walkin’ – I saw a sign there
And that sign said – no tresspassin’
But on the other side …. it didn’t say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

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