Grandchildren of American music icon Woody Guthrie, Sarah Lee Guthrie and her siblings have teamed up with father Arlo for "The Guthrie Family Rides Again" tour that chugs into Hermann Park Tuesday evening. Both Sarah Lee and Arlo have recently released new albums Go Wagaloo and Tales of '69, respectively.
The biggest surprise of our interview? Houston honky-tonker Mike Stinson introduced Guthrie to her husband, Johnny Irion.
Chatter: So how did Mike Stinson figure in your marriage?
"The Guthrie Family Rides Again"
8 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Dr. (Hermann Park), 713-533-3276 or www.milleroutdoortheatre.com.
Sarah Lee Guthrie: I was living out in L.A. in an old house that had Gram Parsons's piano in it. Mike and Johnny were in a band together, and one day Mike introduced us. He's probably mad at me, because Johnny dropped out of the band not long after that. The odd thing is that my dad met my mom much the same way in Los Angeles.
C: What do you mean?
SLG: My mom grew up in Malibu. She got a job at [famous L.A. nightclub] the Troubadour when she was 17 and eventually became the manager. It was actually Neil Young's fault they met. Neil had to cancel some shows and my dad played there that entire week, and he and my mom fell in love. The really strange thing is that Johnny and I got married exactly 30 years later. There are some seriously scary parallels.
C: Was Woody always a major factor in your life?
SLG: Not particularly. I knew who he was, but it was later in life that I began to actually dig into his work and understand who he was.
C: Woody's memory has been revived by the annual festival in Okemah, the Billy Bragg/Wilco albums of his works, etc. What impresses you about this resurgence of interest in him?
SLG: It's amazing how much people loved him. Not a week goes by that someone doesn't come up to us and give us something of his. Just out of the blue, people give us all kinds of things, tapes of his old radio shows, half-finished poems or songs he left behind when he stayed at their house. Someone recently gave us a battered old typewriter Woody had used. All of that stuff goes to the Woody archive.
C: What was it like as a child with a father who was a touring musician?
SLG: My mother made sure we had a pretty normal childhood, but some of my most cherished memories are from being on the road with Dad. He was gone so much that getting to go out with him was something I really looked forward to. My mom was just so over it after a while, but I couldn't wait for those trips with Dad. That was true quality time.
C: What is it like when your dad plays "Alice's Restaurant," which is 30-plus minutes long?
SLG: (Laughs) That means it's time for the rest of us to go eat.
Here comes another festival: Last week Rice University radio station KTRU (91.7 FM) announced the lineup for its annual spring Outdoor Fest. Two-man San Diego electro-indie artistes Rafter, who also have several SXSW appearances in Austin this weekend, headline over several local favorites: Rapper Fat Tony, Indonesian ensemble Space City Gamelan, knob-twisters Ghost Mountain, noise stingers Wasp and Pear, children's entertainer Rachel Buchman and Rice Battle of the Bands winners Office Party. The all-day free event starts at noon on the Rice campus Saturday, April 10.
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1. Homopolice/Black Leather Jesus, split LP
2. Balaclavas, Roman Holiday (LP)
3. Various Artists, Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas (LP)
4. Magic Lantern, Magic Lantern (LP)
5. Immolation, Majesty & Decay (CD)
6. Spacemen 3, Sound of Confusion; The Perfect Prescription; Performance reissues (LP/CD)
7. Joanna Newsom, Have One on Me (LP/CD)
8. Lamps, "Neils Bohr" (7")
9. King Khan & BBQ Show, Invisible Girl (LP/CD)
10. Cold Cave, Love Comes Close (LP/CD)
1. Snow Patrol, "Just Say Yes"
2. Dave Matthews Band, "You & Me"
3. Phoenix, "1901"
4. Weezer, "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To"
5. One Eskimo, "Kandi"
6. Norah Jones, "Chasing Pirates"
7. John Mayer, "Heartbreak Warfare"
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8. Pearl Jam, "Just Breathe"
9. Train, "Hey, Soul Sister"
10. Ingrid Michaelson, "Maybe"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)