“About the greatest song ever written about America”

Greatest guitar slogan ever. Click to hear a version lacking the verse on hunger.

When most of our everyday words — lectures, readings, the stuff on meeting agendas — fail to move us, it may be song lyrics that bring us most quickly back to understanding the magical power words possess.  There’s probably no better song to sum up what “Words Are Roads: Yellowstone” is all about than Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”

It may be, as the Boss himself has said, “about the greatest song ever written about America.”  Springsteen, in this moving 1985 tribute to the song, knew the simple and elegant lyrics transport us to the plains and seashores and mountains, but also that they address some of the contradictions that keep us from enjoying what should belong, by all rights, to everybody.

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