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Letter To Woody

by Joel T. Mosman

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I first wrote Letter To Woody in 2007 after attending the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in his hometown of Okemah, Ok. Inspired by the the mass of talent, and tenured performers welcoming young songwriters like me, I went home and wrote the first version of Letter To Woody. It was recorded with a three piece band I was with at the time but nothing ever really came of it. I left the song on the back burner as I continued to write, record, and perform.

It wasn’t until 2017 when my inspiration was rekindled by a giant projection of Woody Guthrie that lit up the front of the Oklahoma State Capitol building. The projection was an art project by local artist Jack Fowler. On the top of his guitar were the words “How did it come to this?” in place of the original words “This machine kills fascists.” The art display conjured emotions in the local community that reflected discontent with some of the state legislature’s decisions. I was among the discontented.

Remembering the song I had written before, I dug the lyrics out of an old notebook and attempted to translate my sloppy handwriting. It took some mind-marinating but after a couple days I had the lyrics polished, a chord progression change, and a different melody. I recorded the song in my garage and sent it to my friend Travis Hodge at the T. Hodge Lodge Studio. He ran it through his magical workstation and made it sound like something presentable. And so I presented it to the 2017 Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition.

I also submitted another song I wrote entitled Talking Oklahoma Blues that is a different song entirely, but hits on the same points from the perspective of a disgruntled citizen. I was pretty confident Talking Oklahoma Blues would at least get runner-up.

To my surprise, I got an email notifying me that the song Letter To Woody had won 2nd place in the competition. It was an honor to hear the news especially since the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival was a place where I learned a lot about songwriting and performing many years ago. I’m glad to be a part of the Woody Guthrie community! I hope you like it!

For other music, videos, blogs, merchandise or to learn about my band Oklahoma Uprising, check out our website at www.OklahomaUprising.com!


Tell me Woody Guthrie just what it’s coming to
When you were kicking up the dust did you learn to make it through?
Did you know that when you sang we’d be singing back to you?

Dust is coming back it’s shaking down the door
Winds are blowing hot air across the State House floor
Your guitar has got a message- “We won’t take it anymore”

Tell me Woody Guthrie just how it was to you
When you were on them rutted rails did you learn to ride them through?
Did you know that when you sang we’d be singing back to you?

Politicians tell us it’s all inside our brains
They’re pointing fingers saying that the media is to blame
But they’re voting on our lives, on our families, on our land

Tell me Woody Guthrie just how it was to you
When your job was underpaid did they overwork you too?
Did you know that when you sand we’d be singing back to you?

They laid us off and blame it on a poor economy
But the boss is driving by in the nicest car I’ve seen

They better be afraid come the next election day

There’s twisters on the interstate and earthquakes shake the ground
There’s flooding on the plains when the harvest comes around
Well tell me Woody Guthrie when are you coming back around?
When you coming back around?
When you coming back around?


released June 12, 2017
Joel T. Mosman- Lyrics, Guitar, Vocals
Travis Hodge- Engineered and Produced
Recorded at T. Hodge Lodge Studio


all rights reserved



Oklahoma Uprising Guthrie, Oklahoma

Alternative Country band fronted by singer/songwriter Joel T. Mosman. Lyrics about overcoming adversity rise up through raw electric guitars as a symbol of Mosman’s journey from self-destruction to self-actualization. Artistic influences include Leon Russell, Jason Isbell, Reckless Kelly, and Son Volt. Oklahoma Uprising is about the fight against existential hardship within and without. ... more

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