Guthries celebrated at Vilar
Editor’s note: Director’s Corner is a weekly column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek.
With spring weather already here, people have starting thinking of summer activities: hiking, bike riding and golfing. At the Vilar Center, our winter season officially ends April 6 with the already-sold out Keb’ Mo’ concert. But, during these last three weeks of the season, we produce more than 20 percent of our winter shows; spring at the Vilar Center is not for the weary. Tonight we have one of the biggest and most respected names in the world of bluegrass music, The Del McCoury Band. Next week, we have a full schedule: two concerts (Arlo Guthrie and The Guthrie Family Legacy Tour and Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti); two family shows (Leo Lionni’s kids books on stage and The Spencers’ “Theatre of Illusion”); and one of the greatest ballets of all time, “Swan Lake,” presented by the Moiseev Russian Classic Ballet.
While I know they will all be great, my pick for this week’s show not to be missed is Arlo Guthrie and The Guthrie Family Legacy Tour playing on Monday night. The tour is so named because it celebrates four generations of the Guthrie Family and their contributions to the history and craft of folk music.If you’ve never seen Arlo perform, trust me when I say it is worth the price of admission just to hear his stories. A charming raconteur, he shares his first-hand tales of growing up in a musical family, becoming an icon of the ’60s folk scene and ultimately passing this musical heritage down to his children. Born with a guitar in one hand and a harmonica in the other, Arlo blends his stories and music into songs which are both thought-provoking and humorous.
Arlo is joined on-stage by his son Abe (keyboard/vocals), daughter Sarah Lee (guitar/vocals), son-in-law Johnny Irion (guitar/vocals), granddaughter Olivia (ukulele/vocals) and extended family member Gordon Titcomb (slide guitar/mandolin). To complete the family tree, late folk legend Woody Guthrie participates in the evening through video clips and musical recordings. Woody began his folk career writing depression-inspired dust bowl ballads, the most famous being “This Land is Your Land.” He then went on to host a national radio show that made him a household name. His songs and stories were an inspiration to countless Americans during this difficult period in history.Keeping in the socially conscious vein of his father, Arlo gained national attention with his infamous 18-minute talking blues song “Alice’s Restaurant.” The anti-Vietnam diatribe earned him a position as a spokesman for the younger generation during the tumultuous 1960s era, weaving themes of Vietnam, racial equality and the women’s movement into his music. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the contributions of the Guthrie family to the fabric of American music and history. I hope to see you there.
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