In a lengthy post titled “Gone Fishing,” the folk singer-songwriter explained that he’s canceled his upcoming show. He also revealed that prior to the pandemic, he’d experienced several mini strokes — the first occurring in 2016.
“I got really dizzy in the parking lot of the hotel, and started seeing as though I were looking through a kaleidoscope,” he said. “That evening the show went on as though nothing had happened. I had no idea I’d just encountered a mini stroke until weeks later, when I was told about it. It didn’t appear to affect my performance, or my state of being. I continued touring for the next 4 years.”
Guthrie suffered another stroke on Thanksgiving Day of November 2019, noting the irony of his classic holiday song, “Alice’s Restaurant.” He spent an evening in the hospital, but left the next day to perform a show at New York’s Carnegie Hall. However, he returned to the hospital in Florida several days later when he experienced pain on both sides of his body. “They kept me there for 3 days, running tests of all kinds, and essentially informed me that I’d suffered a stroke,” he said. “This time was more serious, as I’d lost some ability to walk, and I wondered if if would be able to play music.”
He spent a week in rehabilitation and recovered, thanking his girlfriend Marti for the support. He felt he was at “80%” when the pandemic hit, and canceled the rest of his tour. He’s been in quarantine at his farm in Massachusetts, playing music online for friends. Last summer, he released a cover of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More,” inspired by Covid-19.
“A folksinger’s shelf life may be a lot longer than a dancer or an athlete, but at some point, unless you’re incredibly fortunate or just plain whacko (either one or both) it’s time to hang up the “Gone Fishing” sign,” he said. “Going from town to town and doing stage shows, remaining on the road is no longer an option…I’m happy, healthy and good to go, even if I’m not going anywhere.”