Tag Archives: Jeff Tweedy

Johnny Irion and Sarah Lee Guthrie ready to hit the road again

The married music makers open up about new album Wassaic Way, working with Jeff Tweedy and keeping their family life in balance after 14 years of marriage

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion perform atop an artwork in a gallery at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass., during the Solid Sound festival in 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion perform atop an artwork in a gallery at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass., during the Solid Sound festival in 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Alongside a two-lane back road in the Berkshires region of Western Massachusetts sits a solid, simple frame home.

Sited on what appears to be at least a couple of acres atop a hill, its nearest neighbor is farther than you can throw a stone, but not so far as to be out of sight.

The house is far enough from the main highway to provide a peaceful retreat, but with easy access to civilization — whether you consider that North Adams, Pittsfield, Boston or beyond.

The silence — at least outdoors, anyway — is broken only by the occasional animal noise or the air-horn warning and rumble of one of the freight trains that pass through on a regular basis.

Inside, it’s a very different story.

That’s where Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion are raising their kids — “counting the cousins, on any given day there are four to six. But normally, two: Olivia’s 11, Sophia’s 6,” Johnny told Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? in an exclusive interview.

And it’s home base for their business. Downstairs, in a studio-basement-rehearsal space, the married musical duo practice and record their music.

Things are really happening for Sarah Lee and Johnny. They seem like a duo on the verge of overnight success — albeit after one very long and ofttimes sleepless night.

But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s clear up something: While Sarah Lee and Johnny aren’t household names, there’s something about them that rings the bell.

It’s that Guthrie thing, right? Continue reading

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Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion bring Wassaic Way to Saturday’s Wassaic Festival

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion at Wilco's Solid Sound Festival in 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival in 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion are making a Hudson Valley appearance on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the all-free Wassaic Festival in Dutchess County, which starts today and runs through Sunday (Aug. 2-4).

There’s something nice about hitting the namesake town in the early stages of touring their latest album, the seriously charming Wassaic Way. The husband-and-wife-duo (she’s daughter of Arlo Guthrie and granddaughter of Woody Guthrie) are really proud of the self-released album (which is to be released Aug. 6) they made with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone.

Stay tuned for a full interview with the creative couple. But for now, I just wanted to alert you to their gig coming Saturday. I’ve never been to the Wassaic Project, a center that aims to create context for art making and strengthening local community by increasing social and cultural capital through inspiration, promotion and creation of contemporary visual and performing art. It’s at the very last stop on Metro-North Railroad’s Harlem Line. This is the sixth year for the festival, a free, three-day event featuring art, music, dance, and community featuring over 100 artists, 25 bands, film screenings, dance performances and more.

If you go

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion perform at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug 3.,  on the Luther Barn Stage. The Wassaic Festival began today (Aug. 2)  with various art events. Music and dance start around 6 p.m. This wrap up Sunday with a community breakfast, kids events and more music.

The Wassaic Project is at The Maxon Mills,  37 Furnace Bank Road , Wassaic, NY 12592. It’s in walking distance of the Wassaic Metro-North station with connections from Grand Central Terminal. ADMISSION IS FREE, but tickets are required for some events. Check the full schedule here.

Jay Farrar still can’t say Jeff Tweedy’s name

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The cover of Jay Farrar’s memoir, Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs

 

Uncle Tupelo co-founder Jay Farrar‘s easy-reading memoir, Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs, came out in March, but it landed rather quietly — at least in my world.

It was only a few days ago that I really became aware of the collection of vignettes by the ultra-serious Farrar. Some of the reviews have been unkind, but that didn’t stop me from buying it and devouring it in a matter of a few hours.

Farrar made great music in Uncle Tupelo, and has continued on a reverential path since the band’s acrimonious 1994 breakup. But that’s not the subject of this collection of short passages from just about every part of his life but the Uncle Tupelo part.

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Jon Langford and a Maxwell’s memory lapse

The Jon Langford Threesome, from left, at Maxwell's: Tony Maimone, Steve Goulding, Jon Langford. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The Jon Langford Threesome, from left, at Maxwell’s: Tony Maimone, Steve Goulding, Jon Langford. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Jon Langford looked truly puzzled on the stage of Maxwell’s.

The Jon Langford Threesome's set list at Maxwell's. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The Jon Langford Threesome’s set list at Maxwell’s. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The Welsh-born rocker has played at the Hoboken, N.J., club many times — “37 1/2… the half because tonight’s not done yet” — over the years in many bands, from the Mekons to the Three Johns.

On Tuesday, July 9, his show was billed as “Jon Langford’s Threesome feat. Tony Maimone and Steve Goulding performing Mekons, Waco Bros. and Jon Langford songs from throughout the centuries

“Did the Waco Brothers ever play here,” he asked, during a portion of the set where his cranked out several of that band’s best-loved tunes.

“Three times!” came the cry from the crowd.

The crowd gathers in the back room at Maxwell's for the Jon Langford Threesome. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The crowd gathers in the back room at Maxwell’s for the Jon Langford Threesome. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

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Tickets for Wilco’s Solid Sound music and arts festival on sale now

A view of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA.

A view of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA.

First-rate festival returns after a one-year absence

We felt a void this year. After staging the Solid Sound Festival for two years in a row on the campus of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass., Wilco decided to skip 2012.

It was disappointing. But that makes today’s news all the more delicious.

I suppose it’s no surprise. The fantastic three-day event requires an enormous amount of planning and commitment from every member of the band and it support staff. And while I’m sure the band didn’t lose money on the festival, it’s unlikely that it was a huge moneymaker, either.

Wilco perfoms on the main stage in Joe's Field at MASS MoCA.

Wilco perfoms on the main stage in Joe’s Field at MASS MoCA.

Wilco promised to return to the beautiful Berkshires in 2013, and the band is keeping that promise. “Early Worm” tickets for next year’s festival — running from June 21-23 — are available right now.

Those tickets are just $99, and well worth it. Click here to get tickets now.

Once they’re sold out, a limited number of “Early Bird” tickets will be available for $124 — still a relative bargain.

If you wait too long, you’ll have to settle for the $149 regular three-day passes.

Solid Sound is a family friendly event, with three-day passes for children ages 7-10 priced at a mere $50, while kids 6 and under are free.

If you can’t go all three days, or think you won’t want to (bad idea, in our opinion), there will be a limited number of one-day passes.

The festival promises two headlining Wilco sets on a fabulous field next to the factory complex that houses MASS MoCA. Wilco side projects and bands and comedians curated by Wilco members also will perform. You can also count on art installations, probably some films, and definitely a lot of great food and drink. Plus, in the past there have been pop-up stores, a coffee shop imported from Chicago, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy in a charity dunk tank and falconry demonstration.

Oh, and we shouldn’t forget about access to the amazing exhibitions in the museum itself. The people who run the museum are fully invested in this festival — they’re not just renting the space out to the band.

The first two editions featured acts such as Mavis Staples, Levon Helm (RIP), Mountain Man, Thurston Moore, The Books, Syl Johnson, The Handsome Family, The Baseball Project, Here We Go Magic, Autumn Defense and many more.

While the 2013 lineup won’t be finalized for quite awhile, we guarantee this will be a great festival for anybody who likes Wilco.

You don’t need to be a super-fan to enjoy this festival. Jeff Tweedy and the other members of Wilco have diverse tastes in music and art, and all of those tastes have been on display in previous editions of the festival.

Camping and transportation from New York City and Boston is also available.

No Solid Sound Festival for 2012 — Wilco skips a year

Wilco's first takeover at MASS MoCa. (© 2010 Steven P. Marsh)

Band plans benefit concert for MASS MoCA instead

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? is never happy to be the bearer of bad news. But you need to know that Wilco announced today that the band is taking a year off from presenting the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA, the awesome art musuem in North Adams, Mass.

Jeff Tweedy and his Wilco bandmates have with great success presented the three-day Solid Sound Festival for the past two years, bringing music, art and friends together on the low-key industrial campus in Western Massachusetts.

We’ve been watching since before Christmas for an announcment of the dates of the next three-day music fest. Finally, around 1 p.m. today, came a tweet from @WilcooftheDay listing the long-awaited info:

#SolidSound Update: The next Solid Sound Festival will be held June 21-23, 2013 at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Ma.

2013? Huh? What happened to 2012? Before we could ask the question, almost as if somebody could read our minds, came this tweet:

The 3 day event will take a 1 year hiatus, but Wilco will perform at the North Adams museum this summer in a benefit concert for MASS MoCA.

And when will that concert happen? Came the reply to our unasked question:

not announced yet

Sigh.

Stay tuned for details on why Wilco’s taking a year off and details about the benefit concert at soon as they become available.

Scenes from Solid Sound: Wilco and friends

Wilco (Nels Cline, Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, from left) on the first night of Solid Sound 2011. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? got off to a late start for the 2011 Solid Sound festival in North Adams, Mass. So we missed Purling Hiss, the first band of the weekend, on Friday afternoon, June 24.

Sharon and Neil Finn's Pajama Club.

But we made it to MASS MoCA in the Berkshires in plenty of time to catch the two big shows of the day, Neil and Sharon Finn‘s Pajama Club and the headlining set by Wilco, the band that made the festival happen.

The Pajama Club plays fun, no-worries pop. We didn’t know much about the band before arriving in North Adams, but discovered to our joy that the New Zealand band’s drummer is Alana Skyring, who until the beginning of this year was a member of one of our fave bands The Grates from Australia.

Click through to the jump for more photos and words about Night 1 of Solid Sound. And check back soon for photo and words about the rest of the music festival.

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Will you be in North Adams for Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival?

Last year's Solid Sound Festival kicked off with beautiful skies. (© 2010 Steven P. Marsh)

Are you joining Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? in North Adams, Mass., today for the beginning of the second annual edition of Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival?

If you haven’t decided yet, it’s NOT TOO LATE. So all of you last-minute types should definitely keep reading.

Wilco at the 2010 Solid Sound Festival.

As it did last year, it’s taking over the campus of MASS MoCA, the fantastic contemporary art museum that has made this struggling former factory town a destination for lovers of art and music.

And the best thing for you last-minute types is that passes are still available for $124.50. Unlike last year, single-day tickets are also available at $65 for today or Sunday and $78 for Saturday.

Click through to the jump for more photos from last year’s festival and more info about this weekend’s activities.

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Great news: As predicted, Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival returns to MASS MoCA in 2011

When Wilco arrived at MASS MoCA last summer, the band even took over the museum's sign. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Fantastic festival can only get better

We don’t like to brag (well, okay, sometimes we do), but Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? predicted that Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival would become an annual event — even before this year’s inaugural gathering wrapped up.

Wilco HQ announced the news with an email this morning:

Greetings and Happy Holidays. We’ve got a last bit of news before heading home for the break. The big story here is that Solid Sound 2011 is officially ON and happening the weekend of June 24-26, once again at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. if you were there last year, we know you’ll be back. If not, well, this year you should know better. Ticket information and more will be announced on January 18. So keep an eye and ear out.

Safe travels and sweet holidays to you all. Thanks again for another great year in Wilcoworld. We’ll see you in 2011 with what will undoubtedly be a whole bunch of news regarding Wilco tours, records, the festival and so on. Cheers.

the HQ Staff

This years three-day event was held  in mid-August. It gave thousands of fans of all ages the run of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in the Berkshires town of North Adams, Mass. Participants got to hear lots of music from Wilco, the side projects of band members like Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline, Pat Sansone, their friends, and got to sample comedians and films along with the spectacular art on the gritty former factory campus. It was well run, well curated and surprisingly chill.

The music was great, the scheduling tight without being overwhelming, the facilities were superb and the food and drink never seemed to run out. Everything worked together to make it one of the best and most memorable festivals around.

Wilco perfoms on the main stage in Joe's Field at MASS MoCA.

Museum management was thrilled to have as many as 5,000 well-behaved patrons on site at once, and obviously saw the festival as something worth bringing back. Museum Director Joe Thompson was singing the praises of the event all weekend, and made no secret of the fact that he supported the idea of doing it again in 2011.

And Cline brimmed with excitement about the festival when we spoke with him at Joe’s Pub in New York City, where he and fiancee Yuka Honda were checking out Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl‘s new project, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

Next year’s festival is earlier in the summer — June instead of August. So save the date and stay tuned for an update in a month.

Artist as audience: Scott McCaughey

Scott McCaughey of The Baseball Project and innumerable other bands (Young Fresh Fellows, etc.) stops to chat with fans before the Jeff Tweedy solo set that closes out the Solid Sound Festival on Sunday at MASS MoCA.