“A great reminder of just how effective a bit of absurdity can be when it comes to combating serious issues.” – Rolling Stone
“An hour and a half in the presence of Guthrie is like receiving the most enjoyable and authoritative master class on 20th-century American folk music one could possibly have”. – The Independent, London
Bluesfest Touring is proud to announce that Arlo Guthrie is touring Australia this April. The American folk singer-songwriter will play four shows, one in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide along with his performance at the 30th Anniversary of Byron Bay Bluesfest next Easter. Guthrie is best known for singing songs of protest against social injustice and storytelling through song. Guthrie’s humorous persona and his musical mixture of folk, rock, country, blues and gospel styles in songs almost equally divided between his own originals and well-chosen cover tunes are sure to entertain audiences across Australia.
In 1965, a teenaged Guthrie performed a “friendly gesture” that proved to be fateful. Arrested for littering, Arlo was deemed “not moral enough to join the army” and recounted these events on the album ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ in 1967. The “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, 18 minute and 20 seconds partially sung comic monologue opposing the war and the backward reasoning of authority has become a quintessential anti-establishment anthem.
Born in Coney Island, New York in 1947, Arlo is the eldest son of America’s most beloved and multi-talented Woody Guthrie. Growing up Arlo was surrounded by such renowned artists as Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, to name only a few. Not surprisingly, Arlo drew from these influences and he, in turn, became a delineative artist, bridging generations of folk with songs of protest and social justice.
Folk songs enduring many decades of change only become classics when storylines remain just as relevant today as they were when originally composed. “Alice’s Restaurant” is of this ilk. Lampooning the Vietnam War draft, it was weaved into the fabric of the 60s counter-culture, a tradition of US radio airplay during Thanksgiving and applicable even against the current political climate, with a touch of humour.
‘Alice’s Restaurant’ achieved platinum status and was made into a movie in 1969 (in which Arlo played himself) by the esteemed Oscar-nominated director Arthur Penn. 1969 also brought Arlo to the rock festival of the ages – Woodstock, showcasing his chart-topping “Coming Into Los Angeles”, which was included on the multi-platinum Woodstock soundtrack and movie.
Arlo Guthrie has become an iconic figure in folk music with a distinguished and varied career spanning almost sixty years, touring almost constantly alone, with friends or family. Classically styled folk songs intermingled with clever storytelling and a keen sense of humour remain his trademark, in addition to his broad musical accomplishments.
Since the first time he performed in public in 1961 at the age of 13, and after almost sixty years of shows, Arlo Guthrie, now in his 70s, has become an American folk elder—a keeper of the flame.
Alice’s Restaurant – Back By Popular Demand
Wednesday 17th April 2019
Presented by City Recital Hall Sydney & Bluesfest Touring cityrecitalhall.com (02 8256 2222)
Monday 22nd April 2019 Presented by Canberra Theatre Centre & Bluesfest Touring canberratheatrecentre.com.au (02 6275 2700)
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre & Bluesfest Touring melbournerecital.com.au (03 9699 3333)
Also performing at Bluesfest’s 30th Anniversary