Skip to Main Content

Concerts from the Library of Congress: Pick of the Week

Week of January 22, 2021

As the nation celebrates the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, we prepared an inauguration playlist, part II. In this edition of Pick of the Week, we include John Newton's "Amazing Grace" performed by Elvis Presley, Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" arranged and performed by Los Angeles Chicano band Las Cafeteras, Samuel Ward's "America the Beautiful" performed by the United States Navy Band and, Samuel Francis Smith's "America: My country 'tis of thee" performed by the Metropolitan Quartet. We hope that this edition inspires you to learn more about the patriotic songs traditionally performed in past U.S. presidential inaugurations.

Pick of the Week - January 22, 2021

"Amazing Grace" (recording date: March 15, 1971)

Elvis Presley (performer) / Published: RCA Victor, 1994, monographic.

"This Land is Your Land" (performance date: February 18, 2017)

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress challenged musical artists to interpret material from its unparalleled archive of ethnographic recordings of traditional folk music. Artists were asked to put their own spin on these archival treasures and to perform them at a special showcase during the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City in 2017. The showcase was recorded for this webcast. This video features Los Angeles Chicano band Las Cafeteras performing their bilingual version of "This Land is Your Land" from Woody Guthrie's Ten Songs, a mimeographed manuscript dated 1945 from the Alan Lomax Collection / Woody Guthrie Manuscripts Collection.

Learn more about Alan Lomax and Woody Guthrie:

Additional Archival Audio and Essays

"America the Beautiful" 

Ward, Samuel (composer) / Dragon, Carmen (arranger) / Bates, Katharine Lee (lyricist) / United States Navy Band (performer)

"America: My country 'tis of thee"

[Smith, Samuel Francis] (composer) / Metropolitan Quartet (performer) / Published: Edison, [1914].