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Rising Son: The Life and Music of Arlo Guthrie

Rising Son: The Life and Music of Arlo Guthrie

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Rising Son: The Life and Music of Arlo Guthrie 

By Hank Reineke with commentary by Arlo Guthrie

We are so grateful to Arlo and Hank for donating 100% of the writer’s proceeds for this book to The Guthrie Center.
Order yours today and help support our mission!


One of America’s most beloved folk singers, Arlo Guthrie was at the pinnacle of his fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his best-selling album Alice’s Restaurant and his iconic appearance at Woodstock. Yet Guthrie’s career as a musician, humorist, and storyteller extends far beyond his years in the celebrity spotlight. Rising Son: The Life and Music of Arlo Guthrie, written by award-winning author Hank Reineke, recounts the veteran musician’s second act, from the early 1980s to the present. Featuring extensive reflections and commentary from Guthrie himself, this book is the only authorized biography of the renowned folk singer.

As a modern-day troubadour drawn to experimentation, Arlo Guthrie has also carried forward the traditions inherited from his legendary father, Woody Guthrie. Rising Son examines Arlo’s role in preserving Woody’s legacy of social protest and examines his collaborations with his father’s friend Pete Seeger. The book also highlights the contributions of Guthrie’s mother, Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, a dancer with the Martha Graham Company and the Guthrie family’s first archivist. 

Drawing on substantial research, the author traces Guthrie’s efforts to free himself from corporate oversight of his music and art. In 1983, Guthrie created his own label, Rising Son Records, to reissue titles from his back catalog and create new music. Guthrie speaks frankly about record company blues and music industry tangles, offering lively accounts of the people he met and the places he performed. The narrative takes several detours, with Guthrie sharing memories written in the spirt of his signature shaggy-dog storytelling style.

Rising Son also illuminates the spiritual journey of a restless pilgrim: a man devoted to exploring and synthesizing the most benevolent principles of charity and kindness as practiced by different religious traditions. “What I’ve tried to do,” Guthrie has reflected, “is to use live music to change people’s lives.” This definitive biography invites new appreciation for Arlo Guthrie’s remarkable career as a musician, storyteller, and humanitarian activist.
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