Shortly after September 11, 2001, a small, heavy package wrapped in brown paper arrived in the mail at the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York City. Inside was a mess of wires.
Guthrie’s daughter Nora eventually figured out that the suspicious package wasn’t a bomb, but rather a recording of her father on a device that predated magnetic tape. After a year of searching, she managed to track down someone with the equipment to play it.
What she finally heard was a bootleg recording of her father singing a live performance in 1949. It was the first time she had ever heard him perform in front of a live audience. He had developed Huntington’s chorea and stopped performing when she was a child, and she thought he had never been recorded live.
The result has been nominated for a Grammy.