This Burns Flat family band didn’t really know Woody Guthrie songs until they lived one of them

Great State

BURNS FLAT, Okla. (KFOR) – He’s an Oklahoma boy from Weatherford.

She’s a fishing village kid from Sweden.

What brought Tove and Josh Lightfoot together?

The Dust Bowl struggles put to rhyme by Woody Guthrie.

“We always tell people that he introduced us,” says Josh of the Oklahoma folk icon.

Describing their initial attraction, Tove admits, “He actually knew some Woody songs that I didn’t know.”

Josh and Tove met at the 2013 Woody Guthrie Folk Festival.

He admits, “She kind of pulled me in with a book called, ‘Hard Hit Songs for Hard Hit People’.”

Starting in 2016, they were playing as many as four shows per day at nursing homes and assisted living centers all over the region.

“They’re a good audience. They pay well, and you’re done by 6 o’clock at night,” smiles Josh.

That all changed on a trip to Eufaula last March when COVID-19 pulled their professional plug.

Josh recalls, “As I was driving home that night I lost $10,000 in gigs.”

Out of work with a young baby in tow, they found themselves living in one of Woody’s songs, ‘Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad’.

“I hadn’t every thought of anything that could stop us,” he says.

Josh mowed lawns for a while.

He made pretty good money as a busker in Sweden for a time.

As their daughter Esther grew, their own story, no matter what the language, still included music.

“I’ll always be a musician,” Josh states. “I just am.”

The Lightfoot Family Band is back to playing gigs again.

Not quite back to pre-COVID bookings but getting there.

For such big Woody fans it’s hard to imagine being any closer to Guthrie’s songs than they already were, but living one out might make for another verse all their own.

The Lightfoot Family Band, including Esther, is based in Burns Flat but play in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.

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