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Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion

Bright Examples – 2011 (Ninth Street Opus)

Reviewed by Sara Hetland

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CDs by Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion

"Bright Examples" is as American-sounding as music gets, evoking lazy Sunday afternoon drives through the country and time spent drinking iced tea on the front porch. Johnny Irion and Sarah Lee Guthrie are a husband-wife duo; Sarah Lee is also the daughter of Arlo Guthrie and granddaughter of Woody. Production and instrumentation were done by members of the indie folk rock group Vetiver, fans of their 70's-esque songs such as Roll On Babe will hear their influence on the CD.

The album flows along at a nice pace, an easy listen straight through without wanting to hit the 'skip' button. However, this consistency may be a downside for some listeners. While Irion and Guthrie have created a pleasant, unique sound, it would be fun to hear them experiment a little more. Butterflies deviates a bit by featuring only Guthrie's voice, and is more ballad than folk. While she has a pretty voice, the best tracks are those that make the most of the duets, such as the upbeat Never Far From My Heart and the cautionary Target On Your Heart.

The harmonies and music are soft and sweet without being boring or overly saccharine. "Bright Examples" sounds like a quieter, more indie Fleetwood Mac album, and is worth a listen for any contemporary folk music fans.