When a man needs a woman: Johnny Irion & Sarah Lee Guthrie | Bleader

When a man needs a woman: Johnny Irion & Sarah Lee Guthrie

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The husband-and-wife team of Johnny Irion and Sarah Lee Guthrie (Woody's granddaughter) return to town on Saturday night, opening for the glib jam band ukulele whiz Jake Shimabukuro at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Together and apart the pair traffic in California-style country from the early 70s, steeped heavily in the cosmic twang of Gram Parsons via the Jayhawks, whose Gary Louris produced their most recent album, Exploration (New West, 2006). Last year Irion (a former member of the forgettable alt-rock combo Dillon Fence) issued his second solo album, Ex Tempore (Rte 8), and let's just say the absence of Guthrie on all but two tracks makes the heart grow fonder--her harmonies soften Irion’s occasionally strident, high-pitched cry. He advantageously works within his limitations when he lets his intonation wobble a la Neil Young, another clear influence, but I’m glad his wife will be around (and get to sing some of her own stuff as well) here. They're due to release a new album together next year.

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