Folksinger Arlo Guthrie Still Musing With Music
Arlo Guthrie, the story-telling, rabble-rousing folksinger who never fails to entertain, was scheduled to return to Spokane Saturday. At press time the show was postponed.
Back in the early ‘70s, Guthrie turned his guitar and his wit into savage weapons against military expansion and the war in Vietnam; today, he still gets his point across, even though the enemy is less clearly defined.
In the great American folksinging tradition, Guthrie favors the common man over the corporation, common sense over intellectualism and the spiritual over the material.
On the other hand, he’s happy rhyming “pickle” with “motorcycle” and telling tall tales about landing at LAX with contraband.
With his boyish grin and droll sense of humor, Guthrie disarms his ideological foes and holds audiences spellbound.
Son of folksinging legend Woody Guthrie, Arlo made his mark with the anti-authoritarian talking blues epic, “Alice’s Restaurant.” He scored big hits with such songs as “Flying Into Los Angeles” and Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans.”
Guthrie grew up in, but managed to escape, the shadow of Bob Dylan, who fashioned his early career after Woody. But Guthrie is a superb interpreter of Dylan; his version of Dylan’s “When the Ship Comes In” is a concert highlight.
He also sticks closely to his activist roots with songs like “The Hands of Victor Jara,” a tribute to the slain Chilean folksinger.
But Guthrie’s is as much about himself as the material he sings or the stories he tells. With his flowing silvery mane and nasal twang, he’s a direct connection to an important part of our immediate past, a reality he implicitly acknowledges when he refers to himself in the third person, as the Folksinger.
And, when it comes right down to it, that may be the best benefit of an Arlo Guthrie concert.
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MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Arlo Guthrie’s concert Saturday night at The Met has been postponed due to weather emergency in Portland.
This sidebar appeared with the story: Arlo Guthrie’s concert Saturday night at The Met has been postponed due to weather emergency in Portland.