Happy birthday, Woody Guthrie. AG Woody Guthrie
You are a songbird right this minute. Today you’re a better songbird than you was yesterday, ’cause you know a little bit more, you seen a little bit more, and all you got to do is just park yourself under a shade tree, or maybe at a desk, if you still got a desk, and haul off and write down some way you think this old world could be fixed so’s it would be twice as level and half as steep. . . . It wouldn’t have to be fancy words. It wouldn’t have to be a fancy tune. The fancier it is the worse it is. The plainer it is the easier it is, and the easier it is, the better it is—and the words don’t even have to be spelt right. . . . They don’t even have to rhyme to suit me. If they don’t rhyme a tall, well, then it’s prose, and all of the college boys will study on it for a couple of hundred years, and because they cain’t make heads nor tails of it, they’ll swear you’re a natural born song writer, maybe call you a natural born genius. —Woody Guthrie, from the introduction to Hard Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People
Image from my article on songwriting lessons from WG, Acoustic Guitar April 2013.