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Guthrie family extends folk legacy with tour

Legendary Woody Guthrie's presence felt through family's music
/ Source: Billboard

The descendants of folk music icon Woody Guthrie are turning a family reunion into a traveling musical event this fall.

With Woody’s son Arlo in the lead, the Guthrie Family Legacy Tour will hit big cities like Philadelphia, New York and Seattle, as well as such small towns as Rolla, Mo., Oshkosh, Wis., and Boon, N.C. Dates can be found on the Web site of Arlo’s Rising Son Records (

Arlo’s son Abe, his third daughter Sarah Lee and her husband Johnny Irion and family friend and multi-instrumentalist Gordon Titcomb make up the core of travelers.

Arlo’s second daughter Cathy also joins Willie Nelson’s daughter, Amy, as openers for a number of shows under the moniker Folk Uke. Second daughter Annie will be taking time off from helping run Rising Son to join the trek, which runs through the end of November.

“We’ve all ... taken turns touring with Dad,” Sarah Lee told “This is the first time we’re doing it this way. Each show, we’ll set up in a semi-circle and just sort of take turns, singing our songs and Woody’s and tell some stories.”

While Woody has been dead since 1967, his presence will be felt at the shows via previously unreleased sound clips and recorded conversations with his wife Marjorie.

“We’ve come to think of it as tipping our hat to the people who keep the legacy going,” Sarah Lee said. “For me, I just look forward to sharing the stage with everyone, just having some laughs.”

Sarah Lee and Irion released their debut duo record, “Exploration,” in March via New West and will be performing some of the songs on tour.

In related news, the new documentary “Woody Guthrie: Ain’t Got No Home” will debut July 12 on PBS as part of the American Masters series. The program features interviews with Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, and recordings of Guthrie.