Farrar-Johnson-Parker-Yames New Multitudes: A Woody Guthrie Tribute

Farrar-Johnson-Parker-YamesNew Multitudes: A Woody Guthrie Tribute
With 2012 marking 100 years since Woody Guthrie's birth, the great American troubadour's life and work are sure to be celebrated in many ways. It's already been announced that Wilco and Billy Bragg's complete Mermaid Avenue sessions will see an imminent release, but this new tribute has beat it to the marketplace. Featuring Son Volt's Jay Farrar, My Morning Jacket's Yim Yames, Centro-Matic's Will Johnson and Varnaline's Anders Parker, New Multitudes finds the quartet refashioning rare Guthrie lyrics in their contemporary folk-rock voices. That means a much more meditative approach than Wilco and Bragg took, with far more psychedelic touches. While that won't sit well with some, it's interesting to think that if Guthrie hadn't suffered from the incapacitating disease that ultimately killed him in 1968, he probably would have embraced the counter-culture he in part inspired. Yames's take on "Revolutionary Mind" certainly adds a new dimension to the clever lyrics toying with the conflict between sex and politics, while the quartet dig into "V.D. City," written to warn new soldiers of the dangers lurking just off base, with Crazy Horse-like fervour. New Multitudes shows, just as Mermaid Avenue did in 1998, that Woody Guthrie's work remains a living entity with a limitless capacity to inspire. (Universal)