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Sara Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion - Exploration


Sara Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion

New West Records - NW6067

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mike Jurkovic

I may be inviting a s**t storm of controversy by saying this about the first joint album by the husband and wife of Guthrie and Irion, but this isn't what I was expecting from this emergent duo at all.

Sure the natural blend of their voices brings back recollections of Gram and Emmylou and deservedly so. But save for the punch and crunch of Gervais and the lyrical opener In Lieu Of Flowers, where is the Jayhawk infused country rock shimmer and lyrical twists that Irion's brought to the fore so grandly on his two outstanding solo releases Unity Lodge (2002) and last years' breakout Ex Tempore? I know we all give 'n take in this marriage thing (some gratefully, some reluctantly), but I hear a lot more of Guthrie's deep roots in folk and country than Irion's more indie based sound.

Produced by Jayhawk guitarist Gary Louris and Ed Ackerman, top notch musicianship, especially Jayhawk bassist Marc Perlman, fiddle master Jay Unger, twelve-stringer Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, drummer Zeke Hutchins, guitarist Louris, and Michael Merenda on banjo and vocals bring to resilient life this mix of roots, (Guthrie's exceptional down homey Mornin's Over) folk, and country. It just sounds a tad too, domesticated, to this listener.

Track List:

  • In Lieu of Flowers
  • Cease Fire
  • Holdin' Back
  • Exploration
  • Kindness
  • Dr. King
  • Mornin's Over
  • Gervais
  • Mixed Blessings
  • Sing Of Things
  • Georgia Pine
  • Gotta Prove
Produced by Gary Louris & Ed Ackerman

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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