A Guthrie Scion Explores the Wassaic Way
The first track is a chipper little number named for a cat. The mournfully titled “Lowest Ebb” is the album’s most propulsive. Sarah Lee Guthrie may be Arlo’s daughter and Woody’s grandchild, but “Wassaic Way,” her fourth album with husband Johnny Irion, seems determined to continue quietly moving beyond expectations based on her lineage; for one thing, it rarely sounds like folk. The Wilco-produced set of 11 tracks uses multiple instruments – slide guitar in the gentle musing of “Still Dreaming,” tinkling piano on New Orleans-set “Hurricane Window,” even what sounds like a Casio drum machine in “Circle of Souls” – to frame the duo’s alternately harmonious and haunting vocals. If it isn’t what you’re expecting, it’s still an amply rewarding listen.