There are certain unforgettable snapshots that frame Arlo Guthrie's life and career. They're prefaced by the lingering legacy he inherited from his father, the great Woody Guthrie, one of America's most indelible folk singers, the patron saint of protest and the man who inspired generations of young men like Bob Dylan to pick up their guitars and rail against injustice. While that's a formidable mantle to inherit, young Arlo created his own iconic image with "Alice's Restaurant," a humorous homespun tale with an upstart attitude that later became an album, a film and his signature song.
Then there's the scene from the movie Woodstock, where Arlo, now a full-fledged counter-culture commando, rips into "Coming Into Los Angles," a narrative detailing his attempt to smuggle in some illegal contraband while passing on the plea, "Don't touch my bag if you please, Mister Customs Man." Now, fast-forward to the present and the graying, bespectacled, but still shaggy-haired populist troubadour has become an elder statesman of sorts in the effort to keep America's musical traditions thriving. No doubt dad would be proud. And even in this era of dashed hopes and dire desperation, if you can't get everything you want, -- as that winsome refrain from "Alice's Restaurant" once promised -- the ever-affable Arlo can still guarantee one fine time.
Arlo Guthrie. Sunday, March 1 . The Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. 8th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $35 and $45. 954-462-0222; www.parkerplayhouse.com
-- Lee Zimmerman