Jack Guthrie

Genres: Country & Bluegrass
Decades: 1960s 1980s 1990s 2000s


Leon Jerry Guthrie, 13 November 1915, Olive, Oklahoma, USA, d. 15 January 1948, Livermore, California, USA. Leon (he was known as Jack later), the cousin of folk singer Woody Guthrie, grew up among both horses and music. Between 1924 and 1929, the family relocated to Texas but returned to Sapulpa, Oklahoma. He first learned to play guitar (his sister, Wava, claimed that Gene Autry taught him some chords) but later added fiddle. He had little education, Wava said ‘Mom would take him to school; he would go in the front door and straight out the back’. In the mid-30s, the family relocated to Sacramento, California. Here Guthrie, without enthusiasm for any, tried various jobs. He worked for the Works Progress Association (WPA), the Forest Service, as a truck driver and rode in rodeos. In 1934, he married Ruth Henderson, and they worked the clubs with an act that included songs and trick roping. He also used a bull whip to cut things from her hand and...

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