The first all English language project by The Klezmatics — a group long acclaimed for an adventurous sound that melds world music, American traditions, and the rich tapestry of Yiddish culture — the album is a glorious tale of discovery, populated by luminaries from different worlds and different eras.
The album’s roots date back to Guthrie’s tenure in Brooklyn’s Coney Island in the 1940’s. Guthrie famously lived on Mermaid Avenue and entertained visitors ranging from Pete Seeger to Lead Belly to his mother-in-law and legendary Yiddish poet/activist Aliza Greenblatt, who discovered in Woody a kindred spirit of words and idealism. Woody’s daughter Nora, the album’s Executive Producer and champion, originally encountered The Klezmatics while they were performing with violinist Itzhak Perlman at Tanglewood.
In the hands of The Klezmatics, the unique insight and fiery worldview that propel Guthrie’s lyrics take flight — matched with a set of daring and virtuosic musical compositions that make Wonder Wheel a rollicking and endearing redefinition of what “folk music” can be in the 21st century.
The Klezmatics recently released an additional album of never-before-heard Woody Guthrie Hanukah songs, Woody Guthrie’s Happy Joyous Hanukkah (JMG).