Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, Song Preservation Society | Schubas | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader

Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, Song Preservation Society Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Oct. 4, 10 p.m. 2013

Together Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion summon the spirit of LA-style 70s country-rock, with sweet harmony singing that recalls the special alchemy of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. They’ve found sympathetic collaborators in Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone of Wilco, who worked together to produce the duo’s new album, Wassaic Way (Route 8). Everyone involved shares an affinity for Americana and classic pop, and they’ve very nearly crossed paths before: Tweedy worked closely with Nora Guthrie (aunt of Sarah Lee and daughter of Woody) when Wilco collaborated with Billy Bragg for the Mermaid Avenue series. Wassaic Way opens with a stumble—“Chairman Meow,” about a Los Angeles character with a cat of that name, is frothy and oversweetened—but the album recovers right away, delivering the introspective Neil Young vibe of “Sleep on It,” the prettified Todd Rundgren tunefulness of the title track, and the vintage Jayhawks twang of “Hurricane Window.” It’s nothing too original, but thanks to all the lovely harmonies, subtle instrumental details, and durable melodies, I don’t mind. —Peter Margasak Song Preservation Society opens.

Price: $15, $12 in advance

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