Sitting There On the Group W Bench

Some day the national anthem will be changed to Woody Guthrie's “This Land is Your Land.” Or maybe his son Arlo's “Alice's Restaurant.” I'm fine with either, and will happily stand, place my hand on my heart and sing along when both are performed at state functions, baseball games, and—this week at the Barclay—by the biological children and grandkids of America's original Dust Bowl Christian socialist-anarchist troubadour.

If you are one of Woody's children—and you are, whether you know it or not, via Pete Seeger, Dylan, Woodstock or hip-hop—the world is lately playing your song. Friends, we're experiencing a Woody Guthrie renaissance, with recent covers and tributes by Ani DiFranco, Billy Bragg and Wilco, Bruce Springsteen, and Joel Raphael, who recorded two CDs of Woody tunes. The Klezmatics just won a Grammy for their amazing record of Guthrie covers, Wonder Wheel—the best album of the year, in any category. Arlo, whose classic anti-war talking blues about littering and conscientious objection to war resonates big-time, arrives in town with son Abe and daughters Cathy and Sarah Lee, son-in-law guitarist Johnny Irion, and other friends and members of his extended musical family to play songs, tell stories, lead sing-alongs and celebrate the life and spirit of Woodrow Wilson Guthie. And, friends, you may think it's a movement.

The Guthrie Family Legacy Tour at the Irvine Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-4646; Thurs.-Fri., April 26-27, 8 p.m. $38-$45. All ages.

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