SOLANA BEACH — Folk singer and songwriter Arlo Guthrie, perhaps best known for the title track from his 1967 debut album, “Alice’s Restaurant,” is cruising into Solana Beach on his Running Down the Road Tour at Belly Up Tavern on April 5.
“We’ve been regulars in the San Diego area for about 50 years and have played most of the venues, many of which no longer exist,” Guthrie said. “The upcoming leg of this tour was taking us through the neighborhood, and the Belly Up looked like a lot of fun, so we took that gig.
“Generally our bread and butter is in the old theaters, but it’s nice to play outside of the norm every once in a while,” he added. “So here we come.”
The show, which began this past fall on the heels of his sold-out Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour, is described as another musical trip certain to be flashback-inducing and mind-expanding.
“The biggest difference between the tours are the songs in the set list, the light shows and the band members,” Guthrie said. “We try to keep the tours interesting for our folks who may have been to the gigs we did last time we were in town.”
The set list includes songs — some not heard onstage for more than two decades — from Guthrie’s late 1960s and early ’70s catalogue, such as “In Times Like These,” “Coming into Los Angeles” and “City of New Orleans.”
According to a press release, the tour “exemplifies the sound that shaped a generation” and “promises to take the audience back to the most remarkable, far-out era.”
The son of singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie and professional dancer Marjorie Mazia, Arlo Guthrie grew up surrounded by entertainers. But it was a series of events on Thanksgiving in 1965 that inspired the song that launched his career.
While visiting friends Ray and Alice Brock during his college break, Guthrie and a buddy decided to clean out the abandoned church in Massachusetts where the Brocks lived. Since the dump was closed for the holiday, they dumped the trash at the bottom of a cliff where others had done the same.
The next morning they were arrested, fined and released. The incident left him ineligible for the draft.
Guthrie turned the story into “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre.”
Since then Guthrie has released more than two dozen albums and tours regularly. He credits his longevity to his passion for music and being on the road.
“It’s a great life, but only if you can deal with it well,” he said. “Thankfully, I love it and I love working with the band and crew, most of which have been with me for a very long time.
“Most all the real pros I know have one thing in common,” he added. “They love the music. If you’re in it for something else, good luck. There’s a price to pay for everything. It doesn’t cost much to be self-indulgent, but you don’t get too far either. I started out playing the kinds of music I figured I could play all of my life. So far, so good.”
Visit bellyup.com for tickets and more show information.