Posts Tagged ‘Nora Guthrie’

In 1998, Wilco collaborated with Billy Bragg to release a two album series performing American folk singer, Woody Guthrie’s previously unheard lyrics. The project was organized by Guthrie’s daughter, Nora Guthrie.

The album was entitled “Mermaid Avenue” after the street in Coney Island, New York on which Guthrie lived. It was said by Guthrie’s daughter that the lyrics were intended to be performed and shared with a later generation. Since Bragg had recently performed a Guthrie tribute concert in New York City’s Central Park, it made sense for Nora to reach out to him about composing music to her father’s lyrics for release. Bragg then approached Wilco, asking them to participate as well.

Interestingly enough, Wilco wasn’t the first to know about the unreleased music. Bob Dylan used to visit Woody Guthrie in the mental hospital where he was located during the final years of his life. In one of these visits, Guthrie had told Bob Dylan where the unreleased music was located in his house, and that he could use them and perform them. When Bob Dylan went to Guthrie’s old house however, he was turned away at the door, as the family didn’t know of any unreleased music.

Mermaid Avenue