Waxahatchee Breathes New Life into Woody Guthrie’s Classic “Talking Dust Bowl Blues”

The cover will appear on Home in This World: Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads, out September 10 on Elektra Records.

Earlier this year, Waxahatchee covered three legends—Dolly Parton, Lucinda Williams, and Bruce Springsteen—for the extended version of her excellent 2020 album Saint Cloud. Today she’s shared a cover of another legend: Woody Guthrie. Her take on “Talking Dust Bowl Blues” is for the album of reimagined songs from Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads, which is out September 10 on Elektra Records. Home in This World: Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads was put together by Grammy-winning music supervisor and producer Randall Poster with the support of the Guthrie estate.

Waxahatchee does the Guthrie classic proud. She doesn’t have a radical take—instead, her guitar is rounder and softer compared to Guthrie’s tinnier-sounding instrument. Her version is also a bit slower, but she stays true to his inflections and enunciations. When it comes time for her to sing about trading the farm for a Ford truck, she lays into long vowel sounds. “I poured it full of this ‘gas-i-line’ / I started,” she pauses slightly, “rockin’ an’ a-rollin’.” Waxahatchee breathes new life into a timeless American tune, reminding of that sweet spot where songwriting and storytelling can be as powerful as the winds that cover this earth.

Listen to her take below and pre-order the album here.


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