Roots-rocker JOHNNY IRION is headed back to Horizon Records TONIGHT, playing an in-store set with our buddy NIEL BROOKS; showtime is 7 p.m.!

Horizon is celebrating 41 years of indie-record store bliss, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to have our friends Johnny Irion & Niel Brooks drop by for an in-store show on Weds., Nov. 30th at 7 p.m.!

Johnny will have plenty of his new US Elevator album for your signing and purchasing pleasure, and Niel’s new album, Northern Lights is in-stock NOW on CD!

Join the event HERE.


There’s no mistaking Johnny Irion’s unique pedigree — his granduncle is literary giant John Steinbeck and his father-in-law is folksinger Arlo Guthrie — but the South Carolina native gained a following on the strength of his own music, fronting several bands as a teenager before morphing into a country-folk artist as an adult, culminating recently with a long string of dates with Dawes.

After relocating to Los Angeles in 1997, Irion met Sarah Lee Guthrie, the daughter of folksinger Arlo Guthrie and granddaughter of legendary Woody Guthrie. The two clicked, both musically and romantically, and eventually formed the country-folk band RIG in 1999. They married that same year and went on to issue several collaborative albums, including 2005’s Exploration and the 2011 gem Bright Examples. Meanwhile, Irion also released several albums as a solo artist, beginning with 2001’s Unity Lodge.

He’s known for his ongoing collaboration with wife Sarah Lee Guthrie, of the American folk music dynasty, but his solo projects show further-reaching roots. 2007’s Ex Tempore, a Seventies country-rock affair, played up the Gram Parsons-Neil Young timbres in Irion’s high tenor voice. His new band, U.S. Elevator, looks back even more evocatively, and boisterously, with songs that feel as lovingly hand-crafted as the jeans on the back of After the Gold Rush.

With the new US Elevator album, Johnny Irion — musical partner and husband of Sarah Lee Guthrie — steps out on his own and delivers his strongest work to date. Influenced by the shimmery sound of the 60’s, he explores the perils of romance on “Dangerous Love.”

“My first band, Queen Sarah Saturday, was a rock band,” says Johnny Irion,= “We landed a major-label deal when I was 19, but we always tossed a few acoustic things into our sets. When I started collaborating with Sarah Lee, we never set limitations on our style. There was always a hint—sometimes more than a hint—of rock in our arrangements.”

Guthrie (Arlo’s daughter and Woody’s granddaughter) and Irion are still collaborating, but Irion was feeling the need to get in touch with his rock roots again: “My friend Zeke, who was in Queen Sarah with me, suggested putting my rock songs and folk songs in di­fferent settings. He said, ‘Don’t muddy the water. You want to see the bottom of both streams.’ I’ve always wanted to do another rock band, so I started thinking about making a rock ‘n’ roll record.”

And to make things even more splendid, we’re pleased to add that our good friend Niel Brooks to bring his voice, his bag of incredible songs and his guitar wizardry to the party, playing his own opening set and maybe sitting in with Johnny, too!


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