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Interview:
Guthrie Upholds Family Musical Lineage
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

As the youngest daughter of Arlo Guthrie and granddaughter of Woody Guthrie, Sarah Lee Guthrie comes from an imposing musical lineage. But she’s hardly intimidated by her multi-generational heritage.

“I think it’s been a very natural thing for me,” says Guthrie, 29, who first sang on her father’s 1981 album “Power of Love” and started playing guitar while road managing him on the 1997 Furthur Festival tour. “I started playing with my father, so I was really included in his music and career my whole life.

“And then I’ve been learning and understanding and researching more and more of my grandfather’s music. That’s been very much part of me — and I think Johnny (Irion, her husband) as well. We don’t set out to write a song like them or like what they would do or anything like that. It comes very naturally to both of us, being who we are and what we surround ourselves with.

“On the other hand, you don’t have to know (about the family ties) to appreciate our music.”

Guthrie and Irion have tapped the family vault for a new “family album” called “Daddy’s Shoes” that they’ll be releasing soon; in addition to their own songs are three tracks — “Go Waggaloo,” “Bright Clear Day” and “The Fox and the Goose” — from unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics. It will be their first studio outing since 2005’s “Exploration,” though Irion released a solo album, “Ex Tempore,” last year.

“We’ve been talking about doing another record,” Guthrie reports. “We’ve actually done a lot of preparations for it. We know it’s been awhile, and the songs are piling up, so we’re anxious to make a new album. We’re definitely going to do it next year.”



Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion perform at 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 12) at Callahan’s, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Tickets are $10. Call (248) 858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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