Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion

Saturday

SXSW Records

Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion

Bright Examples (Ninth Street Opus)

Six years have passed since Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johhny Irion had a proper duo album, so it makes sense that there's been some changes. Bright Examples doesn't explode their folk background so much as push it to the side in favor of a dreamy roots pop that falls somewhere between She & Him and Neil Young's Harvest. Co-produced by Andy Cabic of psych-folk disciples Vetiver and Thom Monahan of Pernice Brothers, Bright Examples also features guest turns by Jayhawks Gary Louris and Mark Olson. With all that, it's still the close harmonies of the husband-and-wife duo that make the disc float. Irion's songwriting again allows them each their own space, whether on the countryfied "Target on Your Heart," the airy "Ahead of Myself," or the uplifting "Cry Quieter," inspired by the tragedy in Darfur. Bright Examples is a bold step forward for Guthrie and Irion, but one soundly tethered to their folk roots. (Sat., 10pm, the Ale House)

***

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