Singer-actor Will Kaufman's performance in "Hard Times and Hard Travellin'," channels American folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) and features Guthrie's songs, combined with documentary film footage, to depict events in 1930's America. "This Land is Your Land" is Guthrie's best known song. But his music often chronicled what he witnessed as he rode the rails and hitchhiked from Oklahoma, where he was born, to Texas and California. The upheaval of the Dust Bowl and the migrations it caused, as well as the Depression and the New Deal all profoundly affected Guthrie, and his songs advocated for the uprooted and impoverished. "I don't want your millions, mister, I don't want your diamond ring. All I want is the right to live mister. Give me back my job again," his song "Greenback Dollar" implores.
Guthrie is revered, not just by historians, but by musicians, for the enduring beauty of his songs and the passionate messages in his lyrics. The list of performers who have recorded them crosses many genres, from folk to rock to rap. Will Kaufman's mission has been to bring Guthrie, and the history embedded in his music, to audiences unfamiliar with this towering figure in our country's history. Pete Seeger, himself a folk icon, said, "I thank Will Kaufman for introducing a new generation of Europeans to 'the other America'. It's a wonderful job he's doing." "Hard Times and Hard Travellin'" takes place September 30, at 7:30 p.m. at Ridgefield Playhouse. Tickets are $20 and $25. For more information, visit the Playhouse's website .
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