Legendary folk singer Arlo Guthrie has announced that he will no longer perform after a series of health setbacks. Guthrie shared the news in a Facebook post in which he gave a detailed account of how he enjoyed the performance and explained why he had made the decision.
“As a folk singer, I never really thought about getting older,” Guthrie said on the Facebook post. “It seemed to me that year after year, decade after decade, I could go on and sing and play like I had done for most of my life. Over the years it got harder and harder to keep touring, but I did it mainly because I’d done it all my life. It was the life I knew and loved. ”
Guthrie explained his recent health issues, including a mini-stroke in April 2016 and another in 2019. Guthrie stated that the first mini-stroke did not affect his performance and continued to tour. and how he performed at Carnegie Hall shortly after his mini-stroke in 2019. However, Guthrie suffered another stroke shortly afterwards.
“This time it was more serious as I had lost the ability to walk and I was wondering if I could play music,” Guthrie said on the Facebook post. “I spent about a week in a rehab center relearning the basics like walking. After that, I went home and started playing the guitar, walking … all I needed to keep touring and performing. Throughout this time, Marti kept family and close friends updated on my progress and really cared about me. I needed all the help I could get. And she was there to see how it was done right. ”
Guthrie shared how he has since moved from his home to his girlfriend’s and has been quarantined on his Massachusetts farm since June. Guthrie stated that he had tried to practice with his band and play a few short gigs, but felt he had not met his own standards and expectations.
He had first started his career in the 1960s and became famous while singing songs of protest against social injustice. His father was the famous folk singer Woody Guthrie, who wrote the icon “This Land is Your Land” in 1940. Arlo Guthrie wrote the song “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre” in 1967, which runs for 18 minutes and describes Guthrie and his friend at length, illegally dumping “half a ton of rubbish” on private property. Arthur Penn created a comedy film called Alice’s Restaurant in 1969 based on the song.
“The shelf life of a folk singer may be a little longer than that of a dancer or an athlete, but at some point it’s time to put up the Gone Fishing sign unless you’re incredibly lucky or just insane (either one or both). Guthrie said in the Facebook post. “Going from town to town and doing stage shows is no longer an option, staying on the streets.”
During his career, Guthrie has performed with Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, and others. Guthrie recently spoke out in favor of George Floyd’s protests, stating that politicians should “hug […] rather than resisting the development of what it means to be American. Guthrie released his final song, Hard Times Come Again No More, last July, which was his first release in over a decade. The track features Jim Wilson and Vanessa Bryan.
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