Husband and wife duo Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion performed songs from their upcoming record Wassaic Way (8/6) for the first time last night for an appreciative crowd at a Housing Works Bookstore benefit show. The new album was produced by Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone of Wilco, whose Mermaid Avenue contained original music set to unheard Woody Guthrie (Sarah Lee's grandfather) lyrics. It is clear that the band is moving away from their folk sound, as opener "Chairman Meow" contains unpredictable guitar lines with a slicker tone that is reminiscent of Sky Blue Sky-era Wilco. The use of a four-piece backing band was necessary to capture the completeness found on the fuller, richer Wassaic Way. Whether harmonizing or alternating on vocals, Guthrie and Irion's use of smart, thoughtful lyrics already has some of these songs stuck in my head.
Dawes fresh off of Saturday's Terminal 5 show, entertained with a stripped-down collection of old classics and new cuts off their recent album, Stories Dont End. The unplugged set mainly consisted of lead singer Taylor Goldsmith playing acoustic guitar and receiving help with backing vocals from his fellow bandmates (minus bassist Wylie Gelber). Concert-staple "It's a Little Bit of Everything" had no trouble being adapted to a smaller stage, and despite hilariously forgetting the words to "Love Is All I Am" ("How am I supposed to remember all of the things that love is not?"), Goldsmith's voice was as clear and impassioned as ever.
Proceeds for the show were donated by Housing Works whose mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS in New York City.
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