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Arlo Guthrie’s Kennedy Center performance last night with the National Symphany Orchestra was often a cinematic experience. Strings and brass propelled Arlo’s still strong and rooted-in-rural-America vocals into every corner of the performance space, and invoked a Randy Newman Pixar/Disney film end of credits vibe.
The between song banter was fun and fresh. There were revelatory tales of his dad, Woody Guthrie, and legends like Leadbelly, and asides that very well could be rehersed cornerstones of his act but sounded off the cuff like:
I appreciate the older stuff, now that I am older stuff.
And this great primer on how Arlo views the creation of songs:
Songwriting is like fishing. There’s a lot of waiting. You sit down next to a stream and wait for a song to swim by, and then you catch it.
Just don’t fish downstream from Bob Dylan.
I wrote to Bob once and asked him if he could throw the small ones back.