Thursday, April 15th, 2021 From “You Won’t Have a Name” to “Say Their Names” Looking to Woody Guthrie in the 21st Century

Thursday, April 15, 20213:00PM - 5:00PMOnline Event, Online Event



Gustavus Stadler is a writer and an English professor at Haverford College. His most recent book, Woody Guthrie: An Intimate Life, rejects the legendary folksinger’s reputation as a mythic American “ramblin’ man,” instead delving into the importance of intimacy in his personal and political life. Called “revelatory” by Greil Marcus and “a landmark work” by NPR music critic Ann Powers, Woody Guthrie: An Intimate Life is a fresh and contemporary analysis of the overlapping influences of sexuality, politics, race, and disability on the art and mind of an American folk icon. He is currently beginning work on a book about Café Society, the first nightclub in New York City to be fully integrated, where Billie Holiday first performed “Strange Fruit.”

Lance Canales is a roots-blues influenced Americana musician from California’s breadbasket, the Central Valley, where Canales lived the life that so many songs have been written about since the birth of roots music: hard labor, one room shacks and taunting ghosts whispering of a better life. Canales’ guttural vocals combine a hard-edged storytelling approach beneath a stripped down, foot-stomping, acoustic instrumentation. As described by music journalist, Robin Wheeler, Canales ”plays hollow-bodied, anger-fueled blues guitar. He growls and stomps with his feet clad in the heavy work boots of his grandfather.”

With and without his band, The Flood, Canales has released three albums, most recently The Blessing and the Curse. He has performed across the US and Europe. In 2013, he released a torrid, revisionist version of Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee (Plane Crash at Los Gatos),” a song about the deaths of 28 Mexican Braceros in 1948. The refrain of Guthrie’s original song laments that the victims weren’t named in news reports of the event, simply referre to as “deportees.” Between 2012 and 2015, Canales and author Tim Hernandez found the names, inserted them in the new version of the song, located many of their relatives, and, in collaboration with the Woody Guthrie Foundation, organized a memorial headstone commemorating the lost passengers.

Drawing on the research for his recent book, Stadler will discuss Guthrie’s views on race, racism, and whiteness. Canales will describe his work and his relationship with Guthrie’s music, playing a few songs along the way. The two will have a brief chat and then open up the event to discussion for all.


Lance Canales
Roots-blues influenced Americana musician

Gustavus Stadler
Professor of English, Haverford College

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