Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion

Exploration

2005-03-09

This one's got its feet planted deep in history.
Sarah Lee’s the daughter of Arlo and the granddaughter of Woody. Johnny’s her husband. Johnny had “solo” records before they realized that they could maybe market the whole Guthrie thing (or perhaps before she was ready to flaunt her stuff). So there’s that.

The other hook here is the angular harmonies that Sarah and Johnny achieve. Their pairing is reminiscent of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings - though, those two are masters. If you’re looking to blend disparate yet complimentary voices, who might you hire to produce?
I bet Gary Louris wouldn’t be a bad choice, as his best records with The Jayhawks featured he and Mark Olson working out their differences. Gary adds guitar and many of these songs hark back to The Jayhawks so hard I almost wept quiet tears. Okay, not really.

Johnny’s the primary songwriter and so far I’m enjoying his work. Sarah’s coming right along, too. The big keeper here is the Pete Seeger song “Dr. King” which features The Mammals and, of course, Pete’s grandson Tao Rodriguez.

Another fine development in the history of Cosmic Americana.
Linus.

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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