The Boss has just received an incredible honor. The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma announced yesterday (May 4) that Bruce Springsteen will be awarded this year's Woody Guthrie Prize. The annual award is given to artists who carry on the spirit of the folk singer - whose music focused on the struggles of the poor and disenfranchised.
Woody Guthrie grew up in Okemah, Oklahoma and is considered one of America's most influential folk musicians. In between hopping trains and playing his guitar covered in the words "This machine kills fascists," Guthrie penned hundreds of songs in his lifetime. Most were about American socialism during one of the United States' worst periods of economic hardship: The Great Depression.
Springsteen is no stranger to Guthrie's legacy. In fact, he's performed a few of Guthrie's songs over the years. “Woody wrote some of the greatest songs about America’s struggle to live up its ideals in convincing fashion,” Springsteen said in a statement. He called Guthrie, who died in 1967 at age 55, “one of my most important influences.”
MAY 13: Bruce Springsteen will be honored with the 2021 Woody Guthrie Prize in a virtual event for Woody Guthrie Center members only.— Woody Guthrie Center (@WoodyGuthrieCtr) May 4, 2021
To join us and Bruce on the 13th, become a member here: https://t.co/ej7tp7btPz pic.twitter.com/R5wcN157xx
Springsteen and previous prize recipient Pete Seeger performed Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" at Barack Obama's 2008 presidential inauguration. The New Jersey rockstar was also one of several artists who participated in the Grammy-winning album Folkways: A Vision Shared. It featured songs by Guthrie interpreted by modern musicians. Springsteen covered "I Ain't Got No Home" and "Vigilante Man."
Deana McCloud, who is in charge of the Woody Guthrie Center, said in a release, "As an observer of the human condition and a reporter about the plight of common people, Bruce Springsteen is a true child of Woody Guthrie. The Woody Guthrie Center is proud to present Bruce with this well-deserved recognition for his lifetime of speaking for the disenfranchised and inspiring generations to find the power of their own voices."
Bruce Springsteen will accept the award at a virtual event on May 13. If you are a member of the organization, you can buy tickets on the Woody Guthrie Center's website.
Joan Baez was awarded the Woody Guthrie Prize last year, and Public Enemy's Chuck D was honored in 2019. Other past recipients of the award include John Mellencamp, Norman Lear, Kris Kristofferson, and Mavis Staples.
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