With Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday approaching in 2012, Guthrie's daughter Nora enlisted Jay Farrar to put more of Guthrie's lyrics to music. Over the years this has become a common practice, with Billy Bragg and Wilco's collaborations being the best-known. However, Farrar (a former bandmate of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy in Uncle Tupelo) gives Guthrie's lyrics an even darker turn. Inviting Centro-Matic's Will Johnson, Varnaline's Anders Parkers, and My Morning Jacket's Yim Yames to flesh out the tunes, Farrar ensures Guthrie's lyrics are heard in a variety of voices. Farrar adds a forlorn destiny to "Fly High," while Yames approaches the end of the world with "My Revolutionary Mind.” Johnson kicks up a Velvet Underground–like grinding rhythm for the eerie campfire sing-along of "No Fear." Parker throws an angry electric guitar growl behind "Angel's Blues." Guthrie mostly wrote these lyrics during his days on Skid Row in Los Angeles and then his better days in Topanga Canyon. The deluxe edition adds 11 additional tunes that further establish this as a superior tribute to a legendary folk singer and humanist.
January 1, 2012 12 Songs, 49 minutes ℗ 2012 Rounder Records. Manufactured and distributed by Concord Music Group, Inc.