Note of Hope: A Celebration of Woody Guthrie

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
While Woody Guthrie died in 1967, his career as a songwriter has been remarkably lively since 1998, when Nora Guthrie, Woody's daughter and one of the directors of the Woody Guthrie Foundation, encouraged Billy Bragg and members of Wilco to look through Woody's prolific unpublished writings and set them to music. Mermaid Avenue, the album Bragg and Wilco recorded of "new" Woody Guthrie songs, brought the great songwriter's work to a new audience, but Nora has also granted several other musicians access to her father's writings, including the Klezmatics, Corey Harris, and Jonatha Brooke, and she subsequently teamed up with noted bassist and composer Rob Wasserman for a ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
While Woody Guthrie died in 1967, his career as a songwriter has been remarkably lively since 1998, when Nora Guthrie, Woody's daughter and one of the directors of the Woody Guthrie Foundation, encouraged Billy Bragg and members of Wilco to look through Woody's prolific unpublished writings and set them to music. Mermaid Avenue, the album Bragg and Wilco recorded of "new" Woody Guthrie songs, brought the great songwriter's work to a new audience, but Nora has also granted several other musicians access to her father's writings, including the Klezmatics, Corey Harris, and Jonatha Brooke, and she subsequently teamed up with noted bassist and composer Rob Wasserman for a special project. Wasserman has recorded several albums in collaboration with a variety of pop, rock, and jazz artists, and on Note of Hope, he presents 12 new compositions created with different artists using Guthrie's words as their foundation and Wasserman's fluid bass as the musical constant. Wasserman's eclectic spirit runs free on this collection, and his musical partners include proto-punk icon Lou Reed, hipster jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, Laurel Canyon folk-rocker Jackson Browne, conscious hip-hop MC Michael Franti, rabble-rousing guitarist and singer Tom Morello, and folk legend (and one of Woody's running buddies) Pete Seeger. Wasserman clearly wanted to use Note of Hope as a showcase for the flexibility of Guthrie's lyrical voice, and it's true that his writings are similarly effective no matter what the musical backdrops may be, but it's just as true that the rhythmic cadences and political, emotional, and romantic obsessions of Guthrie's writings dominate these songs more than the music, and two of the best tracks ("I Heard a Man Talking" by Studs Terkel and "There's a Feeling in Music" by Pete Seeger and Tony Trischka) essentially use readings of Guthrie's essays as accompaniment to music rather than marrying them into proper songs. While Lou Reed, Ani DiFranco, Chris Whitley, and Seeger & Trischka all handle emotional material with strength and taste, Elling and Morello both seriously overplay their selections, and at nearly 15 minutes, Jackson Browne's "You Know the Night" could have used some judicious editing. However, if Guthrie's words ultimately win out over the music of Note of Hope, that's as it should be, and Wasserman's bass work is beautiful while serving the songs well, and his many accompanists handle this music with élan. Note of Hope was clearly a project long in the works (Whitley died in 2005 and Terkel passed in 2008), and the care that went into it is clear; while the final product is uneven, the love that went into it is never in doubt, and even the weakest tracks remind us what a special and singular artist Woody Guthrie was, and that's exactly what an album like this should do.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/27/2011
  • Label: 429 Records
  • UPC: 795041784421
  • Catalog Number: 17844
  • Sales rank: 108,037

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Note of Hope - Van Dyke Parks (4:46)
  2. 2 Wild Card In the Hole - Madeleine Peyroux (4:35)
  3. 3 Ease My Revolutionary Mind - Tom Morello (3:14)
  4. 4 The Debt I Owe - Lou Reed (4:16)
  5. 5 Union Love Juice - Michael Franti (4:32)
  6. 6 Peace Pin Boogie - Kurt Elling (5:07)
  7. 7 Voice - Ani DiFranco (5:11)
  8. 8 I Heard a Man Talking - Studs Terkel (5:47)
  9. 9 Old Folks - Nellie McKay (3:37)
  10. 10 On the High Lonesome - Chris Whitley (4:27)
  11. 11 There's a Feeling in Music - Pete Seeger (4:21)
  12. 12 You Know the Night - Jackson Browne (14:53)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Tony Trischka Banjo
Jackson Browne Guitar, Vocals
Van Dyke Parks Accordion, Keyboards
Lou Reed Guitar, Vocals
Chris Whitley Steel Guitar, Vocals
Rob Wasserman Bass, Background Vocals
Ani DiFranco Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
Michael Franti Vocals
Don Heffington Percussion, Drums
Tom Morello Guitar, Vocals
Tony Scherr Guitar
Kurt Elling Vocals
Matt Cartsonis Banjo, Guitar, Harmonica, Mandola, Bajo Sexto
Laurence Hobgood Piano
Madeleine Peyroux Vocals
Craig Eastman Violin, Viola
Dave Gibbs Background Vocals
Peter Atanasoff Guitar
Irvin Mayfield Trumpet
Darren Beckett Drums
Gary Versace Hammond B3
Nellie McKay Piano, Vocals
Alethea Mills Background Vocals
Carl Restivo Drums, Background Vocals
Ulysses Owens Drums
Mauricio Lewak Drums
Jeff Berliner Guitar
Chavonne Stewart Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Tony Trischka Composer, Producer
Woody Guthrie Composer
Jackson Browne Composer, Producer
Van Dyke Parks Composer, Producer, Orchestral Arrangements
Lou Reed Composer, Producer
Chris Whitley Composer, Producer
Rob Wasserman Composer, Producer, Liner Notes
Ani DiFranco Composer, Producer
Paul Dieter Engineer
Michael Franti Composer, Producer
Don Heffington Composer, Producer, Engineer
Tom Morello Composer, Producer
Steve Rosenthal Producer, Digital Editing, Additional Production
Thom Russo Engineer
Tony Shepperd Engineer
Clare Wasserman Producer
Hal Willner Producer
Kurt Elling Arranger, Producer
Matt Cartsonis Engineer
Laurence Hobgood Arranger
Madeleine Peyroux Composer, Producer
Nora Guthrie Producer, Engineer, Liner Notes, Digital Editing, Vocal Engineer
Jeffrey A. Greenberg Producer
Andrew Gilchrist Engineer
Phil Tagliere Engineer
Ben Bailes Engineer
Nellie McKay Composer, Producer
Brian Thorn Engineer
Michael Kleff Engineer, Vocal Engineer
Warren Russell-Smith Mastering
Kabir Hermon Digital Editing
Bil Lane Cover Photo
Tiffany Colannino Image Research
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