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[THE GRAMMYS]

For Woody Guthrie, it was a very big night -- finally

February 12, 2007|Chris Lee | Times Staff Writer

Nearly 40 years after Woody Guthrie's death, the '40s-era American folk music icon won his first statuette -- in the world music category.

New York-based klezmer five-piece band the Klezmatics snagged a win for best contemporary world music album with "Wonder Wheel," a CD of never-recorded Guthrie compositions bequeathed to the group by the composer's daughter, Nora.

"It's a real honor for us," said Klezmatics lead singer Lorin Sklamberg, speaking backstage. "If Woody were still around, I think we'd be friends. We believe in the same things: in making the world a better place and making our bid through music."

Guthrie, who won a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2000, loomed during the evening. Joan Baez shouted out his landmark song "This Land Is Your Land" when introducing the Dixie Chicks. Guthrie wannabe Bruce Springsteen took the traditional folk Grammy for "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions" and Guthrie acolyte Bob Dylan won two Grammys for "Modern Times": contemporary folk/Americana album and solo rock vocal performance.

chris.lee@latimes.com

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