Guthrie keeps running down the road - with family in tow
His father was a famous folk musician who spent time in Oregon writing songs for the Bonneville Power Administration.
His son is a keyboard player and singer who has toured with him for several years.
And, now his daughter plans to enter the spotlight on a family tour next year.
Yes, Arlo Guthrie has been living the dream. His father, Woody Guthrie, and mother wanted their kids and grandkids to be involved in music, touring and playing socially conscious and entertaining songs. And, now Guthrie has wanted the same for his kids.
Abe Guthrie joins his father in playing at Revolution Hall, 1300 S.E Stark Ave., 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 2. Next year, daughter Sarah Lee joins the next tour.
"(Abe) is the band leader as well as the technological go-to guy," says Guthrie, via an email interview with the Tribune. "He's got kids of his own who are out singing and playing music.
"Sometime next fall we're beginning the next so-called tour, which will be called 'ReGeneration,' which will include my youngest daughter, Sarah Lee. That tour will be on the road for about a year. I'm looking forward to it. We like traveling and playing together."
The music truly is a family affair. Guthrie's other daughters, Annie (a singer-songwriter) and Cathy (a ukulele player), also perform. Abe Guthrie's son, Krishna, is a drummer and has toured with Arlo.
Arlo Guthrie is in the midst of a milestone era. In 2015-16, he toured on the "Alice's Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour." Now, to mark the upcoming 50th anniversaries of "Arlo" (1968), "Running Down The Road" (1969) and "Washington County" (1970), Guthrie and his band — including members from his old band Shenandoah — are playing on the "Running Down the Road" tour, promising to take fans "back to the most remarkable, far-out era," promotions say.
"I play the kinds of songs that I think are currently important," says Guthrie, who turns 70 in July. "If some of the songs are from days long gone by, but are still about what's going on, it just means that some things take time."
The tour started April 5 at Solana Beach, California. It includes five stops in Washington and two in British Columbia before the Revolution Hall gig. Tickets, $45, were still available, as of press time. See www.revolutionhall.com.
Guthrie enlisted Shenandoah members Terry A La Berry and Steve Ide and Carol Ide (as well as Abe Guthrie) for the tour. Shenandoah first joined Guthrie for the first of many tours in 1975; the band disbanded in 1987. But, Berry has continued to work with Guthrie and other family members in various capacities.
Abe Guthrie first played with Shenandoah in 1985, and he has since been a staple of his father's records in performance and engineering capacities, as well as simply keeping company with his dad.
In the 1930s, the BPA contracted Woody Guthrie to write songs and gather support for the construction of dams for electrical power on the Columbia River — called, collectively, "Roll On, Columbia."
"He was in awe of the natural beauty, as well as inspired by the sheer size of these projects," Arlo Guthrie says. "And, for him, the men who built this stuff were simply heroic — enduring incredible hardships and danger to complete these things in years, not decades like the pyramids or anything equally massive in the history of the world. Not only that, but these projects belonged to everyone."
The elder Guthrie would later turn into more of an activist/socially conscious singer, a style that his son would follow into his career.
Guthrie recognizes the incredible electrical production of the dams, but "one day, maybe sooner than we imagine, we'll be able to restore the rivers to their original state, employing new technologies that exceed our demands for power and energy."
He adds: "To make that happen, we will need the same kinds of courage and commitment that it took to get us to where we are today. There's a future where it's all possible, and I think my father would have been even more excited by what we will accomplish in years to come."