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Johnny Irion

Ex Tempore – 2007 (Rte 8)

Reviewed by Jason MacNeil

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CDs by Johnny Irion

Johnny Irion first came to most people's attention with his work with wife Sarah Lee Guthrie. Now Irion's latest solo effort, written during a creative spree last year, sounds like the perfect chaser to Ryan Adams' latest effort "Easy Tiger." Irion's voice reaches the higher, roots-y range a la Neil Young during the tender Americana-saturated opener "Take Care" and the equally precious "Short Leash," the latter featuring Guthrie on harmonies.

Irion never fails to make the most of each song, especially with the toe-tapper "She Cast Fire" and the gorgeous, slightly poppy "Eyes Like A Levee." However, although a song like "Madrid" stands apart from the rest of the 12-track album, it's gems like the warm, soothing alt.-country approach to "Brush Yer Teeth Blues #56" which makes this album shine. The same can be said of the Whiskeytown-tinged "Good Cry."

Perhaps the album's consistency is its strongest point with Irion never opting for filler when he can put on a keeper such as "1000 Miles An Hour" that is one of his stronger vocal performances. Here Irion sounds eerily like Young with great results on a fantastic album.