It's been years and years since I read "Bound for Glory," Woody Guthrie's written-in-vernacular, gritty, funny, dusty Dust Bowl, train-hopping, fruit-picking, guitar-picking life story. Published in 1943, the book is 75 years old this year. (It was not quite that long ago that I read it.)
To honor that anniversary, folk musician and Guthrie aficianado Charlie Maguire will lead a discussion of the book at Hennepin County Library Central Minneapolis on July 7 and the following weekend will perform some of Guthrie's music with fellow musicians Pop Wagner and Tony Glover. He will also present copies of the book (donated by Woody Guthrie Publications) to both the Minneapolis Central Library and St. Paul's George Latimer Library.
"Turns out St. Paul’s copy of 'Bound For Glory' was stolen in 2007 ... and never replaced," Maguire told me in an email. Minneapolis Central Library has one copy that circulates but is likely to purchase more.
Maguire said Guthrie's book is particularly important to him because reading it helped him form his outlook on life. "Social issues like labor; immigration; even how to deal with the stress of a major audition!" he said. "The book is part autobiography, part social documentary, and a handbook for becoming a artist, whether you pick a guitar, write a story, or draw a picture. Woody Guthrie was adept at all three, and his book chronicles his clear-eyed experiences of dealing with the ups and downs of having those gifts and the strength and hope, and dignity, the results can bring to others.
"The book is in part why we became traveling musicians. As such, we wanted to sing Woody’s songs on his birthday, but I also wanted to try my best to keep 'Bound For Glory' in front of library patrons. Woody educated himself in the public library, so it all fits, I think."
Maguire's book conversation will take place at 10:30 a.m. July 7 in the Catherine Ann Forester Huber Conference Room N-304 at Central Library in downtown Minneapolis. It is free, but RSVPs are appreciated to email@example.com
The 75th anniversary concert with Wagner, Glover and Maguire will take place at 6 p.m July 14 (Guthrie's birthday) at Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, 6161 Highway 65 NE, Mpls. Tickets are $25 and are on sale online here: https://bit.ly/2ymSv0o