The Mondavi Center can add yet another classic American icon to the long list of talented performers they have procured.
On Apr. 22 at 8 p.m. in Jackson Hall, the famous Arlo Guthrie and Co. will perform for one night only as part of the “Guthrie Family Rides Again” tour. Guthrie will perform with his wife, four children and seven grandchildren. This is the first time they will all be performing together on stage.
The concert will also include some of Guthrie’s storytelling ability, intermittent between the songs.
Guthrie is a world-renowned country and folk singer who debuted in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Not surprisingly, he originates from some pretty famous country roots. His father, Woody Guthrie, composed the All-American tune, “This Land is Your Land,” and Guthrie Jr. inherited his father’s passion for country music.
Guthrie’s creative love for this genre of music evolved into something incredibly appealing to the American public, transforming him into a legendary icon.
“[Guthrie] has had an enormous influence on almost every musician that feels a responsibility to encouraging social justice in America,” said Jesse Drew, professor and director of the technocultural studies at UC Davis.
Drew will be speaking with Guthrie and Jeffrey Callison, a host from KXJZ 90.9 FM radio on a panel on April 21. The panel will be held in Vanderhoef Studio Theater at 5 p.m., and is free of charge. According to MondaviArts.org, the panel will talk about “Woody Guthrie’s extraordinary legacy and the protest tradition in American popular music, then and now.”
Drew is also working on a documentary film on the political relationship between what is today called “folk” and “country.”
“[Guthrie] has had a profound influence, for example, in inspiring Bob Dylan and an entire generation of musicians and songwriters,” Drew said.
Tocalino added that Guthrie’s songs, “like so much of the best music, are timeless.”
“What’s amazing about [Guthrie] is that he’s maintained his popularity without a lot of radio support,” Tocalino said.
Not only were his songs inspiring and original, but his worth ethic was as well.
“He’s one of the first indie musicians,” Tocalino said. “He started his own label, Rising Son records, in 1983, and has released all of his records on Rising Son, as well as recordings by many of his talented children.”
During Guthrie’s reign in the 1960s and 1970s, he released several songs to promote the movement against the Vietnam War.
Drew said Guthrie’s main message was “that poor people can make a difference in the world if they fight together.”
“His release of ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ was a biting critique of both U.S. justice and the war in Vietnam,” Drew said.
“Alice’s Restaurant,” released in 1968, met critical acclaim. It, along with several other famous selections from Guthrie’s past, will be performed at the concert. Tocalino said Guthrie and family will also play some of Guthrie’s best-known songs like “City of New Orleans” as well as new songs written by Guthrie family members with his father’s original lyrics.
The Mondavi Center still has some tickets remaining but expects the show to be packed. Tickets start at $17.50.
BRITTANY PEARLMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.