From The Desk Of Rick Moody: Woody Guthrie’s “Songs To Grow On For Mother And Child”

The name Rick Moody will be familiar to anyone who keeps current with American writing. He’s the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir, and his lauded 1994 novel The Ice Storm was filmed by director Ang Lee. Moody is hanging around the MAGNET shop this week mostly because of his side job as one-quarter of the Wingdale Community Singers, a remarkable collection of writers, musicians and artists of varying stripes. Once pegged as an “urban folk” group that wrote old-timey songs about modern topics such as cross-dressers and funky Brooklyn culture, the Wingdales just released their second album, Spirit Duplicator, on the Scarlet Shame label. In addition to his writing and recording projects, Moody is guest editing this week. Read our Q&A with him.

Moody: Given to me on the occasion of the birth of my child, along with many, many other albums of children’s music. In the abstract, I could think of nothing I wanted less than children’s music. I would subject Raffi to some Bush-era enhanced interrogation if I could. Nevertheless, I put on this Woody Guthrie album, and I was moved from the first moments, as, in fact, was my daughter. It’s the simplicity (sometimes it’s just voice, or maybe some foot tapping, nothing more), the directness, the absolute lack of premeditation or guile, and the very strange view of childhood and parenting suggested herein, that make this the work of a great artist.