Del and Woody: Voices of America

BY MIKE MANNON
APRIL 11, 2016

Del and Woody is the realization of two distinctly, genuinely American voices: Woody’s common-man vernacular and Del’s common-man sound.  Perhaps the keenest observer of mid-century American life and particularly American dialogue, Woody Guthrie’s take on life is perfectly reflected in these little moments.  A man taking his car to the garage to get fixed, a just-released prisoner working on a post-depression work project, a young father marveling about the beauty of his toddler son. 

Nora Guthrie remembers that Woody from her childhood: “He had a sense of the now.  Other people would call that irresponsible.  With Woody it was about what are we doing now? This now will lead to the next now.  My mother was the one who was organized.  She would leave a daily worksheet someplace where Woody could see it, and it would list everything for him to do: ‘8:00, wake the kids . . . you know 10:00, brush your teeth.’  He relied on that.  She made sure he wrote Bound for Glory, and it wasn’t just him doing his daily scribblings.

“My mother understood that as an artist, it was important for him to be in the now.  And in her doing that for him, he could be in the now.  She was the one that had to be about yesterday, today, tomorrow.” 

In talking with Del and Nora about Woody Guthrie, reliving those memories and those motivations, it’s clear the three share that kinship of “the now.”