Arlo Guthrie through the years. [Cover design by Heather Loyd]

Arlo Guthrie through the years. [Cover design by Heather Loyd]

IN THE PENINSULA SPOTLIGHT: Music legend Arlo Guthrie coming into Port Angeleeze on Sunday

PORT ANGELES — He’s coming to the end of his Boys’ Night Out Tour, and savoring each night.

And Arlo Guthrie, he of “Alice’s Restaurant,” “City of New Orleans” and “Mr. Customs Man” — better known as “Coming into Los Angeleeze” — is coming in to Port Angeleeze this weekend.

Seven years after his last appearance here, Guthrie will bring his band — including son Abe Guthrie and grandson Krishna Guthrie — to the Port Angeles High School auditorium, 304 E. Park Ave. at 7 p.m. Sunday.

The show is a presentation of the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, so tickets are available at and at Port Book & News, 104 E. First St.

Reserved seats range from $23 to $30, or $21 to $27 for children 12 and younger.

There’s been much talk lately about Guthrie’s statement, in various interviews, that he’s a registered Republican. That’s not what many expect from the son of Woody Guthrie, folksinger and philosopher, and the musician who rode the counterculture wave that flowed forth from Woodstock in 1969.

So does Guthrie, who will turn 65 on July 10, talk politics during his concerts?

“He does and he doesn’t,” his son Abe said in a telephone interview last Sunday. “He’s not blatant. . . . He’s not out there to sway anybody’s decision,” though he does want to “educate people.”

Arlo endorses ideas, not candidates, Abe added.

One of them is called Arlo Guthrie’s Big Recovery. He touts it on his website,, and he talks about it any time he’s asked.

“I’m for everything local,” he said.

The elder Guthrie, also reached Sunday as he traveled through California, talked about how local communities — and each person in them — can make a difference.

To do that, “you don’t have to join a party or send in money” to a candidate, Guthrie said. But by choosing local suppliers, local farmers and local labor, he believes, we can turn things around.

At the same time, Guthrie doesn’t presume to know how individual communities should proceed. So he doesn’t preach at his fans.

“Every town is different; every audience is different,” he said. “I stick to the big principles.”

One of those is simply that everybody counts.

“There are no throwaway people,” Guthrie said. “The world makes you feel small,” so in every way he can see, he seeks to build communities up.

Music has a way of bringing people together, and Guthrie means to tap into that.

His audiences are “old and young, left and right,” crowds of listeners not often all in one place.

Just about every American knows Guthrie’s father for his song “This Land is Your Land,” but not as many know that his mother was Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, a dancer with the Martha Graham company and the founder of the Committee to Combat Huntington’s Disease, the illness that killed Woody Guthrie.

Arlo Guthrie has said that his deceased parents continue to influence him every day.

Woody was “a bundle of creativity. And my mother was a bundle of discipline . . . self-discipline,” he said.

“My father was the most disorganized person in the world, and my mother was the most organized person in the world. . . . I appreciate them both.

“I’m a little bit of both,” nowhere near as disciplined as Marjorie; nowhere near as crazy-free as Woody.

On the road these days, Arlo Guthrie receives a lot of requests for “Alice’s Restaurant,” his anti-war epic recounting of being hauled to jail for littering. But, he says, there are also plenty of people out there who do not want to hear that thing again.

“It’s 50-50. There are people who will leave the theater and go out in the lobby for half an hour,” to avoid the song altogether.

So Guthrie sings “Alice’s Restaurant” only around its anniversaries. The 50th anniversary of the song’s writing is coming up in 2015, so audiences can plan on it returning to the set list about a year before that.

Meantime, Guthrie will head out on a whole other tour this summer. This one will be with his whole family, and he admits it will be a logistical nightmare. But when you’re a Guthrie, this is what you do: travel and sing with your kin.

“It’s a lifestyle,” said Abe Guthrie, who’s been touring with his father since he was a boy. “It’s just like if your dad is an electrician, you’ve got a bonus if you want to be one.”

This summer’s tour is something special, Arlo added: It will be in honor of Woody Guthrie’s centennial. The folksinger, who died of Huntington’s in 1967, would have been 100 years old July 14, 2012.

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