A Celebration of Four Generations of Guthrie Family Music
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The last date listed for Guthrie Family Legacy Tour was Thursday April 26, 2007 / 8:00pm.
Currently at Irvine Barclay Theatre
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A celebration of four generations of Guthrie family music, this musical evening visits songs and shares stories enriched with historic photos and archival recordings.
Arlo Guthrie was born with a guitar in one hand and a harmonica in the other, in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York in 1947. He is the eldest son of America’s most beloved singer/writer/philosopher Woody Guthrie and Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, a professional dancer with the Martha Graham Company and founder of The Committee to Combat Huntington’s Disease.
He grew up surrounded by dancers and musicians: Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman and Lee Hays (The Weavers), Leadbelly, Cisco Houston, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, all of whom were significant influences on Arlo’s musical career. Guthrie gave his first public performance at age 13 and quickly became involved in the music that was shaping the world during the 1960s.
Arlo practically lived in the most famous venues of the “Folk Boom” era. In New York City he hung out at Gerdes Folk City, The Gaslight and The Bitter End. In Boston’s Club 47, and in Philadelphia he made places like The 2nd Fret and The Main Point his home. He witnessed the transition from an earlier generation of ballad singers like Richard Dyer-Bennet and blues-men like Mississippi John Hurt, to a new era of singer-song writers such as Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, Joan Baez, and Phil Ochs. He grooved with the beat poets like Allen Ginsburg and Lord Buckley, and picked with players like Bill Monroe and Doc Watson. He learned something from everyone and developed his own style, becoming a distinctive, expressive voice in a crowded community of singer-songwriters and political-social commentators.
Arlo Guthrie’s career exploded in 1967 with the release of “Alice’s Restaurant”, whose title song premiered at the Newport Folk Festival helped foster a new commitment among the ‘60s generation to social consciousness and activism. Arlo went on to star in the 1969 Hollywood film version of "Alice’s Restaurant", directed by Arthur Penn.
With songs like “Alice’s Restaurant”, too long for radio airplay; “Coming into Los Angeles”, banned from many radio stations (but a favorite at the 1969 Woodstock Festival); and the definitive rendition of Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans”, Guthrie was no One-Hit-Wonder. An artist of international stature, he has never had a hit in the usual sense.
Over the last four decades Guthrie has toured throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia winning a wide, popular following. In addition to his accomplishments as a musician, playing the piano, six and twelve-string guitar, harmonica and a dozen other instruments, Arlo is a natural-born storyteller, whose tales and anecdotes figure prominently in his performances.
Today Arlo spends nearly ten months of the year on the road, and is frequently accompanied by his son Abe. On special occasions, his daughter Sarah Lee and her husband Johnny Irion contribute acoustic guitar and supporting vocals. Abe has shared the stage with his father for over 15 years, playing keyboards and providing additional vocals. His daughter Cathyaliza heads the business office in Austin, Texas, and daughter Annie heads the main office in Washington, Massachusetts. Together they provide the business and logistical support for the Guthrie family.
Arlo recently created a program of symphonic arrangements of his own songs and other American classics, “An American Scrapbook”. By the end of 2004 Arlo will have performed over 40 concerts with 27 different symphony orchestras throughout the US since 1998. The show at Boston’s Symphony Hall, conducted by Keith Lockhart, was recorded and aired on PBS’ Evening at Pops. The 4th of July celebration in 2001 with the Pops attracted an audience of over 750,000 people and was broadcast live by A&E.
Alongside his thriving performing career, Guthrie launched his own record label Rising Son Records in 1983. RSR, in addition to Arlo’s complete catalogue of music RSR includes recordings by Abe’s band, Xavier, Sarah Lee’s debut album “Sarah Lee Guthrie” and Johnny Irion’s recording “Unity Lodge”. They released “Entirely Live” and their latest (2004) recording “Exploration” is available. Arlo is also heard on a soon to be re-release “This Land is Your Land” alongside the voice of his father Woody Guthrie. The album has won several awards including a 1997 Grammy nomination as “Best Musical Album for Children”.
Rising Son’s latest release is “Arlo Guthrie – Live In Sydney” (2005)recorded in June 2004 while on tour in Australia. “Live In Sydney” is a two CD package – an entire evening with Arlo, Abe and Gordon Titcomb. In 2002 RSR released “Banjoman – a tribute to Derroll Adams.” Arlo and Hans Theessink co-produced this tribute to their late friend enlisting the help of Donovan, Dolly Parton, Billy Connelly, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and others.