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Springsteen Accepts Woody Guthrie Prize, Explains Folk Singer's Longstanding Influence On His Music

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Bruce Springsteen accepted the 2021 Woody Guthrie Prize on Thursday night in a virtual ceremony.

Springsteen told Nora Guthrie while he considers Bob Dylan the father of his country, he considers her father its grandfather.

"He was the first music where I found a reflection of America that I believed to be true, where I believed that the veils had been pulled off," Springsteen said.

Springsteen said he found Guthrie's music to be exactly the inspiration he needed to accurately tell the stories on his album "Darkness on the Edge of Town," and he doesn’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t found Guthrie’s music at that moment.

"I don’t know if I would ever have gotten there if I wouldn’t ever have found that kind of hope, that kind of dedication to putting your work into some form of action and just a deeper telling of the stories of folks whose stories I felt often go unheard," Springsteen said.

The annual prize is given by Tulsa’s Woody Guthrie Center to an artist who follows in the folk singer’s footsteps in fighting for the voiceless and shining a light on what needs to be fixed. Past recipients include Joan Baez, Norman Lear and Mavis Staples.

Springsteen's career spans more than 40 years and includes more than 20 studio albums. He has won 20 Grammys, an Oscar and a Tony, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2016.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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