Legendary folk music icon Arlo Guthrie releases today in collaboration with acclaimed solo pianist Jim Wilson a hopeful anthem for a world in crisis with a stunning rendition of the Stephen Collins Foster classic "Hard Times Come Again No More" (Release Date: Friday, July 31, 2020). A companion music video coincides with the single release featuring Guthrie performing in quarantine along with Wilson and featured special guests including vocalist Vanessa Bryan, multi-GRAMMY Award-winning bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Andy McKee, a gospel choir, and other notable artists. "Hard Times Come Again No More" is the first release of newly recorded Guthrie material in a decade marking a poignant statement from one of America's most treasured artists. Rolling Stone premiered the music video for "Hard Times Come Again No More" on Thursday, July 30, 2020.
The state of current times with the COVID-19 global pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests offers Guthrie's restless spirit much to reflect on over his storied 50-year career. The Guthrie Family has eloquently, and candidly, captured social and political upheaval since the early 20th Century with the father of the American protest song Woody Guthrie leading the way for generations to come. Arlo Guthrie was among a cohort of 1960's protest folk singers, and he remains as prolific as ever with the release of "Hard Times Come Again No More." A song of compassion for those most suffering, Guthrie reminds us all we must stop and pay attention and help all of humanity to be equal as one.
"I grew up in a family that cared about the hardships of others," says Arlo Guthrie. "My father was well known for writing and performing songs to offer hope. 'Hard Times Come Again No More' resonates with me, and I know it did as well with Woody. Though it was first released around 1900, the message endures with the calamities of today being utterly unjustifiable. We must come together not only as a country, but all across the globe in this dire moment."
A road warrior who has built a renowned career touring North American for five decades, Guthrie is among the high-risk age group that prevents him from physically participating in the mass demonstrations due to COVID-19. One early morning in March 2020 after his 2020 touring was cancelled, Guthrie sipped his second cup of coffee at 5am and thought he must make a statement. Guthrie reached out to Jim Wilson to arrange and produce "Hard Times Come Again No More." The two had never met in person, and four months later, still have yet to meet to even shake hands. The full production of the single and video for "Hard Times Come Again No More" was recorded remotely, to incredible effect. All musicians donated their time for a just cause.
Guthrie continues, "50 years ago, I'd fly out on an airplane to Los Angeles, and I'd gather with the musicians in the studio and bang out the tune. Those days seem to be gone, at least for now. I needed to sing and have my voice offer solace to those on the front lines. Jim Wilson and so many incredible musicians came together for this project. I feel very grateful for their inimitable participation."
"Hard Times Come Again No More" features Arlo Guthrie (vocals), Vanessa Bryan (vocals), Jim Wilson (piano), Brad Cole (accordion, keyboards, master arrangement), Stanley Clarke (acoustic bass), Charlie Morgan (drums), Andy McKee (guitar), Dasha Chadwick (backing vocals), Nic Jackson (backing vocals), and additional backing vocals by Dillon O'Brian. Engineers include Abe Guthrie and Daniel McMains. Additional lyrics are by Arlo Guthrie, David Beeler, and Jim Wilson. The music video is produced by Jim Wilson, and directed by David Beeler. The gospel choir arrangement is by Vanessa Bryan. The song is written by Stephen Collins Foster.