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Another Guthrie Answers Call

Another Guthrie Answers Call

Who: Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion
Where: Gallipoli Legion Club
When: Thursday March 16, 2006

HUSBAND and wife duo Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion will stop over in Newcastle as part of their Australian tour.

Guthrie and Irion will perform at the Gallipoli Legion Club on Thursday, March 16.

Their tour follows the release of their first full-length album and label debut, Exploration. Guthrie comes from a long line of successful musicians as the granddaughter of American icon Woody Guthrie and the daughter of Woodstock favourite Arlo Guthrie. She was just two years old when she made her singing debut as part of a children's chorus on her father's 1981 album, Power of Love. Despite being surrounded by music, Guthrie had little interest in making music herself.

``I think it was in me, but I wasn't ready for it,'' Guthrie said.

After graduating from high school in 1997, Guthrie agreed to tour-manage her father who was appearing at the Further Festival, on which members of the Grateful Dead were joined by the Black Crowes. She got on so well with the Crowes and Chris Robinson that, when the tour ended, she made what proved to be a life- altering decision to move to Los Angeles.

Irion came out of the vibrant Carolina indie-rock scene of the early '90s, first as a member of Queen Sarah Saturday and later with Dillon Fence. He also got friendly with Robinson while Dillon Fence was on the road with the Crowes.

Robinson convinced Irion to come out to Los Angeles, he soon met Guthrie, and the pair began dating.

Irion provided melodies for Guthrie's Bob Dylan- influenced poetry and played guitar while she sang.

One night in his apartment, he handed Guthrie an acoustic and taught her a couple of basic chords.

When word of her interest in music reached the family, she got a call from her mother urging her to forget about college and instead join her father on tour.

``I was into punk rock and heavy metal for a while but the rebellious side of me was deciding to go to college. I was the youngest of four, and nobody had been to college.

``My mum stopped me just as I was going to do that. I always knew that I was in a family that meant a lot to people and that's grown so much as the years have gone by. It's still blossoming.'' She took her mother's advice and went out on the road with her dad.

Her relationship with Irion had begun to take off as well.

Within 18 months of beginning their relationship, he proposed. ``It totally sideswiped me,'' Guthrie said.

``But I've always been a one-person person. He solidified me and believed in me and my art.'' The pair married in 1999 and soon moved from Los Angeles to Irion's birthplace in Columbia.

Two years later they simultaneously released solo albums on her father's Rising Son label.

Soon enough, the couple decided it was time to put their heads together and collaborate on their own album.

Exploration, blends elements of country and folk with strong harmonies. Since setting out on the road together in 2001, they have averaged 180 shows a year.

``We did a gig one night, and it went really well,'' Irion said.

``We spent so much time apart that we figured it was a good excuse to spend more time with each other.''

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