Legends cast large shadows, but such observations bare little weight when speaking of Sarah Lee Guthrie, daughter of Arlo and granddaughter of Woody. With the help of songwriter and husband Johnny Irion, Guthrie has released Exploration, the duo’s debut studio recording; an acoustic, rock-and-hum album enlivened by honey-sweet harmonies and modest hooks. While Arlo and Woody staked their claim in the rich soil of folk music, the young belle and Irion turn into the dry, dusty expanse of alt-country, adding wafting melodies textured with vibrant pedal steel that is only penetrated by bouts with gritty guitar.
Both songwriters in their own right, the convergence between Guthrie and Irion is rife with the qualities expected from the heiress to a folk music throne and a songwriter that cut his teeth in the indy rock scene with the band Dillon Fence. It is a brand of eclectic folk music that can be as gentle as a wind-swept kiss, or as gritty as a Carolina dirt-road. Airy rhythms early on are cemented by