While Jeff Tweedy may have been less than two months old when Woody Guthrie passed away in 1967, not even death can halt artistic expression. Wilco’s frontman joins the prolific folk songwriter and peace activist in tasteful accompaniment on a new demo of the latter’s “I Don’t Like the Way This World’s A-Treatin’ Me”, which will first be available alongside the original single in 10″ vinyl format on Record Store Day (13 April) via Omnivore. Tweedy compliments Guthrie’s yearning vocals with acoustic guitar, providing an extra layer to the classic tune, respectfully eulogizing the contemporary folk hero without pushing boundaries. It’s no real surprise that he offers himself as well as he does to a performance beside Guthrie, having previously joined Billy Bragg in commemorating more recently unearthed lyrics in Mermaid Avenue 21 years back.
Arguably, the release of this demo on vinyl alone will be regarded as historic in the realm of folk music; within it, few names or contributions are as notable as Guthrie’s. As if it weren’t enough, Omnivore is also releasing two takes on “Beech Haven Ain’t My Home”—otherwise known as “Old Man Trump”—beside “I Don’t Like the Way This World’s A-Treatin’ Me” and its new rendition. Since two drafts of the song’s lyrics exist, Ryan Harvey of the Riot-Folk Musician’s Collective combined them for these new renditions. One features Ryan Harvey alongside Ani DiFranco and Tom Morello, while the other features Johnny Irion, the husband and musical partner of Guthrie’s granddaughter, Sarah Lee Guthrie, and his band, U.S. Elevator.