Woody Guthrie Essay

Washington D.C. is a city with a rich and intricate history, but not every aspect of that history is given the attention it needs, such as the D.C. music scene.
D.C. has a strangely diverse field of music scenes such as folk, gogo, hardcore and house, each with a rich backstory about how they came to influence the D.C. area, and even the United States as a whole. One of the best examples of this is the story of Woody Guthrie and Alan Lomax.
In the early 40s, Alan Lomax went to see Woody Guthrie in concert up in New York and was blown away. Lomax immediately called Gurthie down to D.C. to do a recording session at the Department of Interior recording lab. Nick Scalera talks about these sessions in his article How Washington Saved Folk Music….

Lomax continued to help Guthrie in his musical ventures and his rise to fame. If it wasn’t for Lomax, Guthrie never would have went on to kick start the American Folk Revival Movement of the mid-40s. `These [songs] were also instrumental in helping inspire and inform a new generation of folk musicians who emerged in the folk revival of the late 1950s and 1960s, including Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and most famously, Bob Dylan.`(Scalera, 1). Only two years after Lomax and Guthrie’s recording sessions, D.C. was in the middle of a crisis. Tensions were high as the roots of the Civil Rights Movement started to grow, starting at Griffith Stadium in…

After the black section became outraged with volume of the concert out in their seats they stormed the Griffith Stadium field and rioting ensued. Both musicians stopped the concert and pleaded for the crowd to go back to their seats, but it was too late. Ariel Veroske writes about the event in her article It’s Raining Bottles at Griffith Stadium: The Music Battle of 1942 `When police finally regained control, the frustrated musicians had packed up their instruments and thirteen people were arrested on charges of drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Of those who appeared in court the next day, all were black.` (Ariel Veroske, 1). This event, as stated earlier, is one of the first events of many that lead to the Civil Rights Movement of the mid 50s and 60s.
Jumping forward about 20 years, an underground music venue opens up called the 930 Club. In its infancy, the 930 Club was a cramped room that could hold no more than 200 people. Patrick Kiger describes the venue’s first show, before it was even called the 930 Club, in his article The Epicenter of the 1980s Alternative Music Scene in…