Sarah Lee Guthrie
It must be a bit hard to be Johnny Irion. He's just as much a part of Sarah Lee Guthrie's musical project as is the woman herself. Problem is, he's not the offspring of Arlo Guthrie (nor the grandchild of Woody Guthrie) as is his wife. Sarah Lee wove herself into the family tapestry with her debut album in 2001 but her sophomore release recorded with Irion is the one loaded with the big guns. Jayhawks' frontman Gary Louris produced it alongside Minneapolis music staple, Ed Ackerson. But don't believe for one second that she's trading on her family name the way Hank Williams III has. She in fact sang on her father's 1981 album, Power Of Love, as well as on a children's' album of her grandfather's musings entitled Woody's 20 Grow Big Songs. She even worked as Arlo's tour manager for a while and performed with him numerous times. But it wasn't until her first two solo albums that she found her own voice (OK, maybe she found a little bit of Natalie Merchant's voice in finding her own voice, but you know what we mean), especially with 2005's Exploration which blends warm Jayhawksesque alt country production with tinges of Ackerson's ability to channel the intergalactic sounds of innovation.