Springsteen Archives to present Woody Guthrie program highlighting his NJ connections

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Woody Guthrie's music embraced America from sea to shining sea, but he had a unique connection to New Jersey.

That connection and more will be explored at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Great Hall Auditorium on the campus of Monmouth University in West Long Branch as the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music hosts a conversation and book signing with Nora Guthrie, Guthrie's daughter, and Bob Santelli, the executive director of the archives.

“Guthrie played in Elizabeth and Newark for the longshoremen in the ‘30s,” Santelli said. “He was here a lot in New Jersey.”

" 'Dust Bowl Ballads' is the Jersey record. It's the Jersey ballads," Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter, told the Asbury Park Press in 2014.
" 'Dust Bowl Ballads' is the Jersey record. It's the Jersey ballads," Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter, told the Asbury Park Press in 2014.

Guthrie's 1940 landmark album "Dust Bowl Ballads” was recorded at Victor Records’ Camden studios. Later, Guthrie was hospitalized at Greystone Park State Hospital in Morris Plains when he was suffering from Huntington's disease in the '60s.

He had a famous visitor: Bob Dylan.

“Every weekend he would come over and serenade Woody Guthrie with a song,” Santelli said .

Nora Guthrie, co-author of the new book “Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art, Words and Wisdom” with Santelli, was there.

“She'll tell that story,” Santelli said. “There’s a lot of interesting things and she’s a wonderful woman.”

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“Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art, Words and Wisdom” is a collection of Guthrie’s writings and art collected by Nora Guthrie and Santelli. Essays by Chuck D, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, and Arlo Guthrie are included in the book, recently bestowed the 2022 Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Book Award at the ASCAP Foundation.

Monmouth University English Professor Michael Thomas will moderate the conversation with Santelli and Guthrie, founder of the Woody Guthrie Archives.

The Great Hall Auditorium is located inside the university's Shadow Lawn mansion, the setting for the 1982 film version of “Annie.” Free parking is available in Lot 14, off Route 71 on Norwood Avenue.

The Archives will also host “An Evening with David Sancious,” on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at the Vogel theater inside the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank. Living Colour drummer and multi-Grammy winner Will Calhoun will join Sancious on stage.

Sancious is a former member of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band who has played with many of the greats of music. Tickets start at $49. Visit thebasie.org for more information.

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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; cjordan@app.com.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Woody Guthrie Jersey connections highlighted by Springsteen Archives