Guthries Extend Folk Legacy On Tour

The Guthries are turning a family reunion into a traveling musical event this fall with the Guthrie Family Legacy Tour.

The Guthries are turning a family reunion into a traveling musical event this fall with the Guthrie Family Legacy Tour. With Woody's son Arlo in the lead, the offspring, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of the folk legend will be tackling his songs as well as their own through the end of November.

Arlo, his 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 Records, Arlo's label, to join as well.

"We've all have sort have taken turns touring with Dad," Sarah Lee tells Billboard.com. "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 the tour will hit a number of large American cities like Philadelphia, New York and Seattle, it will also visit such small towns as Rolla, Mo., Oshkosh, Wis., and Boon, N.C. Dates can be found on Rising Son's Web site.

"We've always been under the radar. Woody and Dad always insisted on hitting every little town, the full year 'round," Sarah Lee says. "A Guthrie has played Carnegie [Hall] every year since Pete Seeger started something up in 1955. It's just like a family reunion. We all work together running the label and talk to each other every day. [The tour] is just like a tribute."

And while Woody has been dead since 1967, his presence will be felt at the shows via previously unreleased sound clips and recorded conversations between he and his wife Marjorie. The troupe will also play along with a famous Woody song Sarah Lee politely declined to name.

"We've come to think of it as tipping our hat to the people who keep the legacy going," Sarah Lee says. "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" (Thirteen/WNET New York) will debut July 12 on PBS as part of the American Masters series. The program features interviews with Seeger and Bruce Springsteen plus recordings of Guthrie.