Woody Guthrie’s Influence on Us

Freight Train Preachers Blues Cork

As we were packing up after a gig recently, and loading the wagon, mumbling our complaints as we split our spoils, we wondered if Woody Guthrie was alive, would he see all this as opportunity? We are certain that Woody would see the current world state as a harvest-time for songwriters and protesters alike.

Apart from them local heroes in Ballyhea, in Charleville, Co Cork who have protested now for 100 weeks against the bondholder bailout, the now almost forgotten billions of euro the Irish public are expected to pay to the banks that went bust, there seems to be no one else caring, in fact rest of the nation seems to remain in quiet desperation, almost denial… Look at the insidious impact the bondholders, the corrupt politicians, the vast army of con-men and con-women with huge influence are having on all our daily lives. If Guthrie was here, he would almost certainly write about these crooks if he was alive today.

The road ahead is tough, no doubt about it folks, and tougher for two blokes trying to carve out a living as musicians in an Ireland gone to sleep. The media are having a field day spreading the doom and gloom, Good news just doesn’t sell so well…

When the time comes to view an episode of ‘Reeling in the Years’ about our present time, regardless of what happens, songwriters who move now will be the early adapters. Now more than ever our guitars might just “kill the fascists” as no one else seems to be ranting and raving about oppression.

Woody Guthrie, used the backdrop of the savage dust bowl storms and his hand to mouth existence in the late 1930s to inspire his writings and songs, and today they have become a national heritage. Hard to imagine from our current so called “recession” how hard it must have been for him back then.

Yes, a tough time for musicians keeping it together, getting decent paid gigs, replacing equipment, keeping up with the facebook friends and ducking and dodging to gain extra income to keep momentum.

We all know these are hard driving, hard going, and yes hard-living times folks, but truth-telling and fighting for basic rights surely is what you’re a musician for in the first place.

When we, the Freight Train Preachers tire of our melodies, riffs and harmonies, we will hunger only to revert back to defending those without a voice. The road ahead is tough, isn’t that just great?

This is harvest time, get the message out loud and clear, just like Woody, except there are a lot more than just fascists we have to contend with now. Woody was an influence on us, so let’s all go and use that influence to stand for something now today…

Be Well

Frankie of the Freight Train Preachers



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