Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie on singing

Songs are a high art because singing lifts your mind free of your usual run of thinking and often shows you a world of new thoughts and stories and ideas and principles and ideals are seen plainer while singing or while listening to singing. This is why singing is part of all of us — it is nothing in the world but pure hypnotism and is used to either put you to sleep or wake you up. Singing brings your mind out onto an impersonal plane. It puts action and the ways to action clearly before you and educates you about things that have happened in other parts of the world and calls your attention to things happening to other people now. It makes you feel glad and mad and sad and bad and uplifted and fine and dandy, and compares your troubles and hopes and daily work to the worries and hopes and work of everybody else. And so the world rolls on singing.

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Woody Guthrie in Pastures of Plenty: A self-portrait, Dave Marsh and Harold Leventhal (eds.), (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), p. 95. Cited by Amina Wolfe as a favorite quotation. Cited in part in “Willamette Repertory Theatre concludes its inaugural season with a musical look at America’s folk-singing conscience” in The Register-Guard, (Eugene, Oregon: April 9th, 2000), Section B, Page 1. Also cited at Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands.