I’ve been listening to Jonatha Brooke’s The Works, which arrived today. It’s a worthy successor to the other creative collaborations with unpublished lyrics from the Woody Guthrie Archive, Wonder Wheel by the Klezmatics and Mermaid Avenue by Billy Bragg/Wilco. Brooke has quite a lineup of living collaborators backing her up, including Kev Mo, Joe Sample, Steve Gadd, and Christian McBride.
I’m moved by the song “New Star” and the story Brooke tells about it in this video. It’s based on a poem Woody wrote in his notebook after he entered the hospital in 1954, as he imagined his inevitable death from Huntington disease.
Jonatha Brooke - The Making of THE WORKS: “Jonatha Brooke’s THE WORKS - words by Woody Guthrie, music by Jonatha Brooke. Musical support: Joe Sample, Steve Gadd, Christian McBride. Guest appearances: Keb’Mo’, Eric Bazilian, Glen Phillips and Derek Trucks. The Making of THE WORKS directed by Blake Farber.”
Listen to Jonatha Brooke’s interview on NPR Weekend Edition.