“I’ve been a working artist for over 50 years, but I made the difficult decision that touring and performing on stage is no longer possible,” he said in the statement titled “Gone Fishing “.
Guthrie did not respond to emails and phone messages asking for clarification, but said in his statement that health concerns played a major role. He said he had suffered two strokes in recent years, including a serious one that had hospitalized him for several days last year.
The son of folk music legend Woody Guthrie rose to fame overnight in 1967 with the release of “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” a hilarious 18-minute blues ballad about how his arrest on Thanksgiving Day in 1965 for Rubbish prevented him from joining the army during Vietnam. War.
As he endlessly picked a memorable and infuriating tune on his acoustic guitar, Guthrie recounted how he mocked the local police chief who arrested him, appeared before a blind judge who couldn’t see the photos submitted as evidence against him and berated his editorial board for concluding that he “was not moral enough to join the military and burn the homes and villages of women and children after being a bedbug.”
He went on to record over 30 albums, write several children’s books, and appear occasionally in television shows and films, most notably playing himself in the 1969 film “Alice’s Restaurant”.
“The shelf life of a folk singer can be much longer than that of a dancer or athlete, but at some point, unless you’re incredibly lucky or just whacko (one or both), it’s time to hang up the ‘Gone Fishing’ sign, ”he said on Friday.
Guthrie, who has frequently refused to perform “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” for audiences over the years, had planned to perform it at shows next year. He had performed it at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2019 in what he previously announced to be the last of his 50 Thanksgiving weekend shows at the revered music hall.
But the day before, ironically on Thanksgiving, he suffered the second and most serious of his blows. Two days later he was in the hospital and then underwent several days of physical rehabilitation.
The following year, he was back on his feet and back on tour when the coronavirus pandemic struck. He estimated on Friday that he had recovered about 80% of his health by that time, but after months of inactivity on the road, he decided it was time to stop.
In July, he released a new song, “Hard Times Come Again No More,” by Stephen Foster, and indicated on Friday that his retirement from the stage didn’t mean he would quit entirely.
“In fact, I hope to soon be a thorn in the side of a new administration,” he said in a veiled reference to President Donald Trump.