In the human lexicon there is the old adage that says, “Talent skips a generation.” In the music business, however, that cliché has been proven wrong many times. In the case of Sarah Lee Guthrie, who returns to MOTR Pub to perform with her musical partner in crime Johnny Irion, there are multiple generations of song running through her veins.
Guthrie’s father is the legendary singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie. Her grandfather was the iconic singer, songwriter, traveler, troubadour and activist Woody Guthrie and her great, great uncle was the championship Texas fiddler Jeff Davis Guthrie. (As Arlo told me last year, “We’ve got family that has been playing tunes for generations since they left Scotland back in the 1700s.”)
Nevertheless, Guthrie did not begin to take music seriously until she met her now-husband, Irion, whose own lineage includes literary giant John Steinbeck, his great uncle. The duo has been touring and recording music since 1999.
Their latest recording is called Wassaic Way, which was produced by Patrick Sansone and Jeff Tweedy of the band Wilco. The album was recorded in Wilco’s Chicago studio, The Loft, and it shows the pair in a more upbeat and vibrant mode. But Guthrie and Irion’s well-honed harmonies and Neo Folk influences are still intact.
SARAH LEE GUTHRIE and JOHNNY IRION play a free show with Pike 27 Friday, Nov. 1 at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. Check out performance times and get venue details here .