When the subject turns to musical children attempting to escape the shadows of their musical parents, examples don’t come much bigger than Arlo Guthrie. By the time Arlo embarked on what would turn out to be a Hall of Fame career of his own, his father, iconic Folk hero Woody Guthrie, was the kind of legend against which other legends are measured and come up woefully short.
How does the offspring of the man who wrote “This Land is Your Land” overcome that natural self-generated intimidation and go into the family business? Initially, Arlo concentrated on counterculture humor and sidelong dope references (“The Motorcycle Song” and “Coming Into Los Angeles”) in addition to social protestations in his father's vein, but he stormed the charts with his glorious 1972 version of Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans,” a song that ironically might have actually earned more money than Woody Guthrie’s entire recorded catalog to that point.
Arlo Guthrie plays Dave Finkelman Auditorium at Miami University Middletown Sunday. Go here to read Brian Baker's full Sound Advice.