Two musical legends are teaming up for an epic night of timeless songs on Long Island.
Legendary folk icon Arlo Guthrie and bluesman Taj Mahal combine forces at LIU Post’s Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, March 4, unleashing a kaleidoscopic barrage of music spanning a smorgasbord of genres bound to immerse all those in attendance in a veritable whirlwind of tunes that transcend the ages.
Guthrie, a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and son of Woody Guthrie—perhaps one the most influential musicians of all time—has released more than two dozen albums throughout his storied career, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Arlo follows in his father’s footsteps as a hellraiser, both musically and politically, consistently penning protest songs that put forth meaningful messages, stick up for the common man, and lash out against social injustice.
Arlo’s debut, 1967’s Alice’s Restaurant, includes the title track “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” a sprawling, first-person, spoken word stream of consciousness anthem about 1960s counterculture with anti-Vietnam War leanings, has evolved into a Thanksgiving Day radio mainstay for decades, and clocks in at a whopping 18 minutes and 34 seconds.
The song is perhaps too coincidentally the nearly exact length of the infamous void in President Richard Nixon’s “Watergate Tapes,” a fact Arlo mused about on the song’s 30th anniversary, stating that the disgraced president owned a copy.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal, whose career encompasses more than half a century of music, with just as many albums released, masterfully melds the worlds of blues, rock, R&B, jazz, reggae, country, soul and world music to create a musical genre entirely all his own.
1969’s Giant Step/De Ole Folks at Home, just one example of Mahal’s expansive and seemingly boundless range and pool of influences, contains a multi-genre patchwork of songs veering from near-straight-up traditional blues to country to rock, Cajun and spoken-word.
African roots, zydeco, gospel, calypso—two-time Grammy Award-winner Mahal’s musical artistry has never fit squarely into one defined box of stereotypes, in fact, he defies them all.
Together, Arlo Guthrie and Taj Mahal comprise vital threads in the still-evolving tapestry of Americana more than half a century in the making, defining critical aspects of its collective canon, and are the living, breathing embodiment of sheer musical genius.
Do whatever you have to do in order to attend this gig. It’s one for the books, indeed. Repeat: Don’t miss this gig!