While Arlo Guthrie has blazed his own legendary path in music, he will forever be known as the son of iconic songwriter and singer Woody Guthrie. Friday, Arlo will celebrate his father’s historic life with a show at the David Finkelman Auditorium at Miami University Middletown titled “Here Comes The Kid: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie’s 100th Birthday.” The show is a rescheduled date; Arlo cancelled his local concert in October after the death of his wife, Jackie Guthrie. (Tickets for the October date can be used for Friday’s show.)
In an interview earlier this year, Arlo talked about his well-traveled father, who Arlo said could play a square dance for gas money if the situation arose.
“Those guys in those days, they played everything,” Arlo said. “Anything that they could get their hands on, they could figure out a tune on it. (Woody) learned how to play fiddle tunes because he learned how to play the fiddle itself. And he knew the mandolin tunes and all the other kinds of stuff.”
Arlo will perform his own music at the show as well, but don’t be surprised if you don’t hear his classic, nearly half-hour story song “Alice’s Restaurant.” The omission isn’t because of any artistic cantankerousness; it’s more of about show quality.
“I haven’t done ‘Alice’ for years because it was so long, I got lost in it myself,” Arlo said. “Years back, I was singing (1972 hit) ‘City of New Orleans’ one night and in the middle of the song, I was wondering what was going to be for dinner. I got off the stage that night and I thought, ‘If I’m thinking about what’s for dinner in the middle of a song, I’m not really doing it.’ The same thing was true with ‘Alice.’
“Now, I’ll do them occasionally. But when I’m doing these songs, I have to remember that you’ve got to be there, you have to be doing it right now so you can look somebody in the eye and you’re not just mouthing it like a parrot.”
ARLO GUTHRIE performs Friday, Dec. 7 at David Finkelman Auditorium at Miami University Middletown. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.