BMI Foundation Awards 12th Annual Woody Guthrie Fellowship

Published: 08.08.2017

BMI Foundation President Deirdre Chadwick, Woody Guthrie Center Executive Director Deana McCloud, and Woody Guthrie Foundation President Nora Guthrie have announced Jamie Fenton and Matthew Sutton as the winners of the twelfth annual Woody Guthrie Fellowship, a research program for scholars pursuing topics or themes related to the life and legacy of American folk music progenitor Woody Guthrie.

The BMI Foundation, in partnership with the Woody Guthrie Center, annually awards up to $5,000 for scholarly research at the extensive Woody Guthrie Archives, a paper-based research repository located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since 2005, the program has funded a variety of extensive research projects culminating in books, essays, lectures, curricula, public performances, artwork, and other classroom materials that illustrate Guthrie’s lasting cultural impact.

2017 Woody Guthrie Award Recipients:

Jamie FentonJamie Fenton is an MPhil student at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, where he also completed his undergraduate degree in English. Jamie writes on poetics, and his MPhil dissertation is an exploration of how different types of mobility influenced and can be used to Comprehend Woody Guthrie's use of form. His fellowship underwrites a recent trip to the Woody Guthrie Archives to consult Guthrie's unrecorded Talking Blues lyrics, a form of particular interest. Jamie also writes his own music, and was recently in the USA with an educational tour of Shakespeare's As You Like It, for which he composed the score.


Matthew Sutton holds a PhD in American Studies from the College of William and Mary. His research project at the Woody Guthrie Center is on the "Hootenanny" mass-culture phenomenon of the early 1960s. He is also completing Storyville, a study of autobiographies by U.S. Southern musicians who came of age during segregation. His essays on music and literature have appeared in Mississippi Quarterly, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, Studies in American Culture and the edited collections Sounds of Resistance (on Woody Guthrie and environmentalism) and Country Boys and Redneck Women: New Essays in Gender and Country Music. He was a prior recipient of a BMI Foundation/Woody Guthrie Foundation research fellowship in 2009. Past projects include House Without A Door (2009) "an impressively self-assured new album, which reaches for the gleaming cosmopolitanism of our present era" (New York Times); In Praise of Shadows (2011), which "deftly blends elements of electronica with touches of indie rock and sophisticated jazz writing on this genre-defying project" (JazzTimes); and Remixed an "open-minded and masterfully crafted precursor of things to come" (All About Jazz) featuring remix collaborations with David Binney, Knower, Tim Lefebvre, and others.

About the Woody Guthrie Archives
The Woody Guthrie Archives, housed within the Woody Guthrie Center, are an international research destination. The collection was purchased in 2011 by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and moved to Tulsa from New York in 2013. This is the largest collection of Woody Guthrie primary resource materials in the world. The collection contains handwritten notebooks, correspondence, creative writing, drawings, paintings, lyrics, photographs and media produced by Woody Guthrie. Along with the personal papers of Woody Guthrie, the Archives also include several special collections, a rare book collection, and a reference collection. For more information visit the Woody Guthrie Center website.
About the BMI Foundation
The BMI Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 to encourage the creation, performance, and study of American music. The Foundation’s programs include competitive scholarships for songwriters and composers, operating grants for nonprofit arts presenters, and support for innovative music education initiatives in schools and communities across the country. For more information about the work of the Foundation, please visit our website at For exclusive news and content, follow @bmifoundation on Twitter and Instagram, and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook at