Arlo Guthrie and family celebrate Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday with concert at Ocean City Music Pier July 16.
Summer in Ocean City is a time for family reunions when relatives get together at the Jersey shore to enjoy the beaches, boardwalks and each other’s company.
For the first family of American folk, Ocean City is a traditional stop on a nationwide tour that’s filled with late-night highways, city skylines and crowds of music lovers both new and old.
Legendary American folk music icon Arlo Guthrie and his family reunion tour hit the Ocean City Music Pier on Monday night, July 16. The tour is to celebrate his late father Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday — a celebration making its way to a dozen music festivals throughout the country this summer.
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, just beyond the Manhattan skyline, Arlo Guthrie, 65, makes a pit stop Monday, July 16, in another beach town just beyond the skyline of Atlantic City.
Known for his songs about protest and social justice, Arlo Guthrie is well renowned for his 18-minute satirical talking blues song “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.” Guthrie has carried the torch that his beloved father, Woody, set afire with his numerous protest, traditional, talking blues songs and other songs, including “This Land Is Your Land.” Woody’s mark on American culture and music will never be forgotten and artists from Bob Dylan to Billy Bragg to Jeff Tweedy have paid homage to the man who died in 1967.
Three generations of Guthries will be gathered for the Ocean City performance, bringing the generations of voices together on stage to commemorate the legacy of Woody Guthrie. Songs by Woody will be played as well as new songs from the family that are, “a great representation of our heritage,” according to Guthrie.
Arlo’s daughter, Sarah Lee Guthrie and her husband, musical counterpart Johnny Irion, will also be performing in the Woody 100 Guthrie family reunion show. The two began performing together as an acoustic duo back in 2000, combining Irion’s love of rock and blues with Guthrie’s folk and country music.
“We have been going to Ocean City now for many years to play on the Pier,” Sarah Guthrie tells Atlantic City Weekly.
“There are many places that have become tradition for us as a family and Ocean City is one of those places. I actually love the Jersey shore. Those old boardwalks on the ocean are so vintage. It feels like I’m going back in time.”
Sarah Guthrie says that one of her favorite songs to play is “My Daddy Flies That Ship in the Sky” because her daughter Olivia takes a verse.
“I am so proud of her and her stage presence,” she says. “It gives me a glimpse of how my father must feel.”
When asked what some of her favorite performers in the folk music scene are she says that she’s making a record that Tweedy, American songwriter and leader of the band Wilco, is producing. The full-length studio album is due out next year.
“I’m not sure if he would consider himself folk, but he possesses some qualities that make him one of my favorite singers,” she says. “I also love a lot of my indie-rocker friends — Vetiver, Winterpills, Neal Casal, Mike and Ruthy and Aiofe Donovan to name a few.”
Sarah Guthrie describes her favorite part of being on tour to be exploring different parts of the world. “The people, the way they talk, walk, dress, eat — I am fascinated by the different cultures and I love the feeling I get during a show, like I’m flying,” she says. “Though, I don’t like hotel rooms. I miss my bed and the fresh air and trees of home.”
Arlo says that getting his family together and taking on the open road was the perfect way to celebrate his father’s centennial. Sarah Lee and Johnny Irion will feature a rendition of Wilco’s tune “Airliner” during the set. Arlo’s son Abe, as well as his daughters Cathy and Annie, all of whom have their own music careers, will also be performing.
Monday evening, as the ocean waves of summer crash against the beach, Ocean City will be filled with folk and blues jams as the legendary family takes the stage at the Music Pier, celebrating decades of Woody Guthrie’s music and American folk music history. n
Plein Air Art
Visual artists are invited to an Ocean City Plein Air Art event on Asbury Avenue every Wednesday evening from 4-8pm, July 11 through Aug. 8. Dedicated to creating awareness of the arts and the local arts community, the Ocean City Fine Arts League is hosting the “En Plein Air” event, which is a French Expression for painting outside in the open air and on location. Participants are invited to Asbury Avenue to see local accomplished artists set up easels and interpret the beautiful scenes around them by painting on-the-spot works.
Not only is the weekly event a time of free expression, it’s also a competition where prizes will be awarded and artwork will be on sale. For more information call 814-0308 and visit OceanCityFineArtsLeague.org.
OCEAN CITY EVENT CALENDAR
Thursday, July 12
Chip Miller Surf & Turf
Surf contest at 7th St. beach and mini tournament at Tee Time Mini Gulf, 7th and Boardwalk. Family surf and mini golf tournament to raise money and awareness for the rare disease Amyloidosis. Afterparty, Greate Bay Country Club, Somers Point. $30 per surfer. $5 per golfer. Afterparty $50. 231-1562 or visit chipmiller.org/surffest.
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. Registration begins 6pm. 525-9300.
Friday, July 13
Ocean City Exchange Club Craft Show
Music Pier Loggia, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk, 9am-3pm. 368-6656.
Saturday, July 14
Miss Cape May County/Miss Cape Resort Scholarship Pageant
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and boardwalk. Tickets $20.00 at the door. 7:30pm. 525-9300.
Furry Friends Flea Market
550 Asbury Ave. All proceeds benefit animals at the Humane Society of Ocean City. Free. 8am-1pm. 398-8037.
Sunday, July 15
Ocean City Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave. Nine-piece virtuoso ensemble. Free. 7pm. 399-1915 or visit octabernacle.org.
Nor’easters vs Brooklyn Knights
Carey Stadium, 6th Street and Atlantic Ave. Final game of the regular season and Nor’easters Fan Appreciation Night and (hopefully) pre-playoff party. Also a tip of the hat to the upcoming 2012 London Olympics with fun and games at half time. $8 adults, $4 kids. 7pm. 525-9999. OceanCityFC.com.
O.C. Pops - A Night at the Opera
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. Soprano Suzanne Vinnik, Tenor Cody Austin and Baritone Wes Mason plus young violin prodigy Elli Choi playing Carmen Fantasy. $15/$10. 8pm. 525-9300. ocnj.us.
From lifeguard races, the completion of the Ocean City-Somers Point Bridge, sand sculpting contests and a themed boat parade, everyone has their favorite summer memory.
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