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Music Wasn't Quite In The Blood For Guthrie

Music Wasn't Quite In The Blood For Guthrie

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

MAYBE it was a case of reverse rebellion but Sarah Lee Guthrie never had any intention of following in the footsteps of her famous family members.

As the daughter and granddaughter of musicians Arlo and Woody , a career in music seemed inevitable.

But she instead chose to move to Los Angeles where she planned to enrol in college.

``A lot of people expect me to have been singing around the fire with dad my whole life,'' Guthrie said.

``My dad was on the road a lot he still works 10 months out of the year so my life was quite separate, apart from the occasion I got to go on the road with him and be a part of that world.

``It wasn't really expected of me to play music, so I never really did,'' she said. ``I was in theatre a lot and I always thought I was going to be an actress or something like that,'' said Guthrie.

``I just wanted to just have a normal life with a nine-to-five job. Since my life had already been so hectic I almost wanted to separate myself from that completely.

``But I think that was just a phase with me trying to go the other way with it.'' Guthrie made the move to the big smoke but did not quite make it as far as the college campus.

Instead she began hanging out with some local singer-songwriters who met up every night and ``sang honky-tonk songs'' together.

It was during this period Guthrie found her voice, and her future husband and collaborative partner Johnny Irion. She instantly struck up a friendship with Irion who taught her how to play a few songs on the guitar.

Guthrie had never given music any prior thought but soon found she was keen to delve deeper into it.

Her dad quickly invited her to join him on tour once he found out what she had been up to in Los Angeles.

``When he heard that I was playing he was very excited because I got a call from him asking me to join him on the road.

``So I flew out after a couple of days and met him on tour. I did that for four years and went from playing two chords to three chords.'' Guthrie also took on the role as her father's manager and learned a lot on the road which eventually helped her out a lot when she began touring with Irion.

Before she began making music with Irion, who she married in 1999, Guthrie released a solo album.

Eventually people began asking when the couple were going to lay down some tunes together and so the pair recorded their first album, Exploration. Reminiscent of the musical chemistry between Johnny Cash and June Carter, the union between Irion and Guthrie proved just as strong on record.

``People say we sound good together and I think so too. I think we've grown into something really neat and unique.

``There's nothing like two different voices coming together. After years of playing together we have developed a sound.

``There's really something about singing with someone that you love and I think that's what is contagious about our music.'' Guthrie and Irion have embarked on their first tour of Australia and will perform at the Gallipoli Legion Club tomorrow night.

Guthrie estimated the pair played an average of 150 shows each year and says they have managed to create a balance between their private lives and their careers.

``It's a balancing act being married and touring together. We have a three-year-old daughter too that comes on the road with us so it's like we're a mini family on the road.

``But we've gotten used to it and we know how to balance it out so that one part of our lives doesn't overwhelm the other.

``We try to keep our lives and our music separate.

``We've learnt a lot over the years on how to keep a focus on the music.'' Tickets are on sale at the club or at the door on the night if still available. Call the club on 4961 2430 for more information.

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