Roughly two and a half years ago we reported that Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo/Son Volt), Jim James (MMJ) and Will Johnson (Centro-matic) had headed into the studio to a record a new batch of songs inspired by Woody Guthrie’s unrecorded lyrics, a la Billy Bragg and Wilco’s amazing Mermaid Avenue records. According to Paste, the trio were personally invited by Guthrie’s granddaughter, Nora, to sift through the songwriter’s notebooks and scratch pads to gain insight on the artist and his unfinished work.
On February 28, the trio will help celebrate Guthrie’s 100th birthday, which will be celebrated all throughout 2012, with the release of Multitudes. The majority of the lyrics of the twelve-track set were “culled from Woody’s times in L.A…it’s a part of the story that is still mostly unknown. From Woody’s experiences on LA’s skid row to his later years in Topanga Canyon, they are uniquely intimate, and relate two distinctly emotional periods in his life.”
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Finally, tomorrow marks the opening night of the New York Guitar Festival. To kick off the event, which runs from January 6 – 29 at venues across Manhattan, a free program paying tribute to Brian Eno’s landmark Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks will take place at the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden downtown. The album, which came out 30 years ago, was originally commissioned as the soundtrack to Al Reinhardt’s Oscar nominated documentary, For All Mankind. Phish bassist Mike Gordon, Levon Helm musical director Larry Campbell, David Torn, Noveller and Tortoise’s Jeff Parker will join Brooklyn ambient ensemble Itsnotyouitsme in offering their live interpretation of the album. For more, be sure to read Sam Davis’s interview with NY Guitar Festival producer David Spelman on Relix.com.