See Will Kaufman:
What they say:
Ralph McTell: Will presents this exhilarating show in the fastest hour and a half you are likely to witness when you consider the breadth and depth of his subject. He performs Woody’s songs with great skill and understanding, playing the guitar, banjo and fiddle with enviable panache and brio. His presentation is accomplished with great musicality, wit, honesty, and compassion. I was deeply moved by the whole show and grateful to Will for reminding me once again of the debt I owe to Woody and the admiration I have for his music. I urge everyone to see the show and find out more about the man who inspired so many.
Tom Paxton: "No
one can understand
the American people without listening to Woody Guthrie. Will Kaufman's
doing important work here."
Pete Seeger: "I thank Will Kaufman for introducing a new generation of Europeans to 'the other America'. It's a wonderful job he's doing."
Steve Tilston: "Will does it all so well! You can taste the dust and hear the train whistle blow."
Listen up all you Jim Crow fascists and you race-hate mongers, too:
Will Kaufman is a-comin' and he's got his eye on you.
Won't brake for no excuses, won't stand no messin' around,
Your bigot ways can't save you 'cause Will Kaufman's gonna run you down.
Nora Guthrie: "I so appreciate all of your efforts to take his legacy further. Who knows where he'll end up!"
For more information on professor Will Kaufman's work on Woody Guthrie go to
The research and shows are supported by:
Words and Music: Live documentaries from the world's leading expert on Woody Guthrie
New Yorker Will Kaufman – singer, multi-instrumentalist and Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Central Lancashire – is recognised as the world’s leading authority on Woody Guthrie. He is the author of the first political biography of the legendary American balladeer, Woody Guthrie, American Radical (Illinois Univ. Press), and has two more books forthcoming: Woody Guthrie’s Modern World Blues (Illinois) and Woody Guthrie: Down, Up or Anywhere (Reaktion). Most recently, it was Will who unearthed Guthrie’s previously unpublished lyrics condemning his Brooklyn landlord, Fred Trump – father of Donald – for his racist rental policies.
Will has performed his ‘live documentaries’ on Guthrie on both sides of the Atlantic, at such major events as the Glastonbury Festival, the Bath International Music Festival, the Whitby Folk Festival, the Big Session, the Beverley Folk Festival, Bearded Theory and the Piacenza Literature and Blues Festival in Italy. He has also performed at countless European and American universities, trades clubs, folk clubs and union halls as well as on Democracy Now!and National Public Radio.
Woody Guthrie: Hard Times and Hard Travelin’ sets Guthrie’s songs in the context of the American 1930s - the Dust Bowl, the Depression, the New Deal and the state of popular music itself. Such hard-hitting songs as "Vigilante Man", "Pretty Boy Floyd" and "I Ain't Got No Home" are brought into conversation with other relevant songs - from Joe Hill's "The Preacher and the Slave" to "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?". Altogether the show highlights the blending of music and radical politics that marks Guthrie's most powerful work.
Woody Guthrie: The Long Road to Peekskill presents the story of Guthrie’s personal transformation from a youthful Oklahoma racist to the ardent anti-racist champion who, along with many others, risked his life holding the line against American fascism during the notorious Peekskill riots of 1949. Conventionally known for his championing of the poor white Dust Bowl migrants, Guthrie also left an extensive body of songs condemning Jim Crow segregation, lynching and race hatred. Most of these songs were never recorded, but they are the legacy of this remarkable journey that eventually brought Guthrie into the fellowship of Lead Belly, Josh White, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and Paul Robeson. The Long Road to Peekskill is both a harrowing and uplifting presentation, showing through the example of Woody Guthrie that racists are not born, but made - and that they can be unmade.
The shows each last about 90 minutes. They are supported by The Woody Guthrie Center and University of Central Lancashire, both heavily involved in Will's research and how Will's shows are used to disseminate the information.
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