Arlo Guthrie Visits The GRAMMY Museum

Singer/songwriter discusses the legacy of his legendary father, Woody Guthrie
  • Photo: John Shearer/
    Arlo Guthrie
July 05, 2012 -- 7:00 am PDT

In conjunction with the Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration in 2012, singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie was recently featured in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Arlo Guthrie discussed his own career and the legacy of his father, Woody Guthrie, and iconic songs such as "This Land Is Your Land." Guthrie also performed a brief acoustic set, including "The City Of New Orleans" and "Alice's Restaurant Massacree."

"I think one of the underlying principles of my father's work is that everybody counts," said Guthrie. "There's no throwaway people in the world. … [My father's idea was] that everybody is worth something, that everybody is unique and has a unique contribution to this world." 

The eldest son of folk legend Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie gave his first musical performance at age 13. Influenced by his father and other folk fixtures such as Cisco Houston and Pete Seeger, Guthrie forged his own musical path as a singer/songwriter. In 1967 he was among the performers at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. That same year, Guthrie released his debut album, Alice's Restaurant, which reached No. 17 on the Billboard 200 and earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Folk Performance despite containing "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," a Vietnam War commentary clocking in at more than 18 minutes. In 1969 he was among the performers at the Woodstock festival. Guthrie's 1972 album, Hobo's Lullaby, contained "The City Of New Orleans." The song became Guthrie's highest charting hit, reaching No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. Guthrie subsequently released albums such as Arlo Guthrie (1974), Amigo (1976) and Power Of Love (1981).

In 1983 Guthrie founded Rising Son Records, an indie label home to his own catalog of albums, folk compilations and new releases. The label's current artist roster includes Guthrie, son Abe Guthrie and grandson Krishna Guthrie. Still an active concert performer, Guthrie has tour dates scheduled in the United States through December. 

Launched in January, the Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration features concerts, programs and events taking place throughout the United States and abroad throughout 2012. The GRAMMY Museum has officially partnered with the Guthrie family and the Woody Guthrie Archives to help commemorate the centennial.

Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include An Evening With California Saga (July 10), The Drop: Susanna Hoffs (July 16), An Evening With Peter Case (July 17), Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust: The Talk With Producer Ken Scott (July 19), and An Evening With The Mavericks (July 23).

(Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday will take place on July 14. Steve Earle will host WoodyFest, a series of concerts taking place July 11–15 in New York. The festival will feature performances by Earle, Billy Bragg, Amy Helm, and Joe Purdy. Come back to next week for an exclusive interview with Earle.)

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