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Born in East Texas to famed folk song collector John Lomax, Hawes spent her childhood traveling with her father and her brother, Alan Lomax, to help preserve the folk music culture of rural America. As a child, Hawes took to heart her mother's advice-"by doing, you learn to do"-and has applied it to all areas of her life. She learned the tools of folklore fieldwork by transcribing the songs of rural musicians and taught herself how to play these songs, eventually joining the Almanac Singers, which included Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, as part of a growing folk movement. When she married Butch Hawes and moved to California, she began teaching guitar and college-level folklore studies. Eventually, she was named director of the Folk and Traditional Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1993, Bill Clinton recognized her work by awarding her the National Medal of Arts. Although Hawes recounts her life dispassionately and in a rather pedantic manner, her accomplishments and her significant contributions to American music mark her place in music history. Libraries with comprehensive folk music collections will want to own her memoir.
—Henry L. Carrigan Jr.