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Folk Singers Forget the Heat at Somers Hootenanny

SOMERS, N.Y. -- Fans of Woody Guthrie and Somers’ own folk/rock/alternative musician, Scott Urgola, ignored the sizzling weather and turned out for Urgola’s annual Hootenanny at the landmark Mt. Zion Church on Saturday at 6 p.m. The event was sponsored by the Somers Historical Society.

Urgola organizes the hootenanny every year, in celebration of Guthrie’s life and the music of his era. While he and his group performed old standards from the stage, many in the audience sang along. Five or six people brought along their own guitars as well.

Woody Guthrie was a legendary American folk musician and chronicler of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. His book, “Bound for Glory,” has been an inspiration to folk enthusiasts. 

One of Urgola’s first jobs was working for Woody Guthrie’s daughter, Nora Lee. After Guthrie’s death, she had discovered dozens and dozens of old envelopes and scraps of paper with scribblings of the musician’s ideas and lyrics. It was Urgola’s job to decipher Guthrie’s handwriting, transcribe the lyrics and enter them all into a computer program.

“I realized I was one of the last people to be touching Woody’s writings before they got packed away,” said Urgola. “I wore white gloves to do the job.”

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