Arlo Guthrie plans to send the train he made famous in his recording of the Steve Goodman song, “The City of New Orleans,” on a mission to help the musicians and the music of the city of New Orleans.
Guthrie said he will set out on the train two weeks before Christmas. Beginning in Chicago, the train will make stops along the way to collect donations and musical and sound equipment to be delivered as a Christmas present to the musicians and musical venues in need in New Orleans.
In a statement, Guthrie said, “When I think of New Orleans, I think of music. I also think of food, but that’s another story. The city of New Orleans is America’s first music city. New Orleans is the city that truly began America’s contribution to the history of music worldwide. Without it, there’d be no popular music as we know it today.
“When I wonder what they might need in New Orleans to get back on their feet, the stuff that gets ruined under water, I think of all the sound boards, the cables, the lighting, the microphones, the instruments. I think of the stuff you need in the hundreds of little clubs and bars that bring the music to the street — the street that brings the people to the city. And I think of the many thousands of people who depend on those people for their livelihoods.”
Guthrie said he will call on music and sound equipment manufacturers and suppliers for gear, either to be donated or purchased at cost from funds raised on the train trip. He said he is determined to “bring the music back” to New Orleans.