The Editorialist: 5 Songs To Keep You Sane This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for oven-baked turkey, slow cooked vegetables, massive amounts of pie, and of course, family chaos. The holidays simply aren’t complete without a bit of craziness in the family kitchen. That’s why this year, we’re ditching the traditional Thanksgiving songs, and bringing you a platter filled with a few random, strung together songs, all representing what Thanksgiving means to us. It’s a little random, a little crazy, and a lot like the holidays.

So between the first forkful of green beans and stuffing, to the last spoonful of ice cream and pie, take a moment to yourself to breathe, plug in the ipod, and remember a few songs that make up the holidays, by enjoying this random mash up of tracks.

Arlo Guthrie: Alice’s Restaurant

Let’s just start this article off right, with Arlo Guthrie‘s Alice’s Restaurant, the ultimate Thanksgiving song. Having just recently discovered this little gem, I felt compelled to share with you all, the world who has been missing out. Now I know, I know, it’s from 1967, so you youngins are thinking about brushing it off. But trust me-it’s a winner. It’s 18 minutes of pure hilarity, based off a true story. Plus, isn’t it still cool to know the songs that no one else knows? That’s right hipsters, this one’s for you.

R. Kelly: Trapped In The Closet

To me, R. Kelly is nothing short of a genius for the success he’s had with his Trapped In The Closet saga. It’s a guilty pleasure, sure, but beginning Thanksgiving Day, the entire series will air on IFC. (more…)

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Psy and Hugh Jackman go Gangnam Style, Wolverine-style

The claws came out, literally, when K-pop star Psy and Hugh Jackman met up on the set of The Wolverine in Australia. Watch the world’s hottest mutant go Gangnam style below.

fun. founds marriage equality organization

The guys in fun. have found the answer to their burning question, What do I stand for? Turns out, it’s marriage equality. The band is hoping to launch a nonprofit that supports gay marriage. Guitairst Jack Antonoff told Spinner that the fact that the band is made up of heterosexual makes their voices even more important. “Being part of a band of three straight men, we felt there was an inherent power in the fact that we aren’t gay, and yet we still care and we have a voice”there’s a responsibility there.” Listen to Antonoff stand for gay rights below.

The Bad

Snoop Dogg or Lion joins forces with Hot Pockets

While Jay-Z is busy endorsing President Obama, Snoop Dogg has thrown his weight behind something just as American: Hot Pockets. Honey Boo Boo must not have known this sponsorship was available when she announced her support for Obama. Watch the Lion formerly known as Dogg pocket like it’s hot.

Carly Rae Jepsen and Harvey Keitel perform Call Me Maybe

Hearing Carly Rae Jepsen sing lyrics like ripped jeans, skin was showing while looking at Harvey Keitel is, well, a little troubling. The actor joined the pop star onstage to perform Call Me Maybe for the autism benefit A Night of Too Many Stars. Watch this catastrophe unfold below.

The Ugly

One Direction and Wolfgang Van Halen’s son scrap

Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, was in Birmingham, England on tour with Tremonti when he ran into One Direction in a hotel. Words were exchanged”the kind that make you want to go to Twitter to complain. Which is exactly what Van Halen did. You can read all about it here.

Trapped in the Closet is back “ Oh Sh**

R. Kelly is releasing more installments of his epically idiotic Trapped In The Closet chronicle, thanks to the little devils at IFC. According to the trailer, there will be plenty of moments that will cause you to spontaneously vociferate expletives. Watch below.


Exclusive Q and A: Sarah Lee Guthrie Talks Woody, Rock and the Guthrie Family Legacy

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsTalking to Sarah Lee Guthrie, daughter of Arlo and granddaughter of Woody, you’d never know she is folk music royalty. Even though her relatives have created some of the most enduring songs in the American music catalog”everything from “This Land is Your Land” (written by Woody in 1940) to “Alice’s Restaurant” (released by Arlo in 1967)”Guthrie seems perfectly comfortable embracing her own rock style of music while honoring her folk legacy.

Although Guthrie and her musical partner and husband, Johnny Irion, are in the midst of creating their next album, the two have halted work to join Arlo and the rest of the Guthrie family on the “Guthrie Family Reunion” tour that will wind its way to a dozen venues and music festivals. To honor what would have been Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday on July 14, the family will perform sets that include Woody’s songs, Arlo’s songs, and new material written by the Guthrie family. Sarah Lee and Johnny will sing their original songs as well as “Airliner” by Wilco, whose members Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone are producing the duo’s latest album due in 2013.

Sarah Lee Guthrie took some time out to talk about her family, her music and why she thinks her 9-year old daughter Olivia Nora Irion”known to the family as ONI”may well contribute to the family’s music catalog.

OS: Your own personal music”which you make with Johnny”is more rock than folk. Yet you also embrace your folk heritage. How do you balance the two formats?

SLG: It just comes naturally, really. Johnny and I love all kinds of music and we always put them all into the show. Johnny loves to rock but we also love to tip our hat to history. That is so important. But really, we just love experimenting and finding new voices. That is what [our career together] has uncovered. We really have a good time doing that and can’t wait to create more. It is very exciting for us.

OS: A lot of second- or third-generation artists talk a lot about the fans that come to their shows. Some find it frustrating that the fans are there more to embrace the past than to listen to the newer music. You’ve never really voiced displeasure about any of that.

SLG: I have to say that for the most part, actually the whole part, the fan interactions I’ve had have been very positive. They always talk about how much Woody’s music meant to them growing up and how much Arlo’s songs have changed their lives. There are moments where it worries me and I wonder what they expect of me. But they’ve been very positive and very gracious. It’s really been a great thing to have fans embrace the legacy.


Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion Going Country in the New Year

Thanksgiving came a bit late this year to the home of Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion.

That’s because the husband-wife duo, who are ready to release their first alt country-rock album in February, spent the holiday in New York. The occasion was the famous Macy’s Day Parade where the duo and their 8-year-old daughter Olivia joined Sarah Lee’s dad, Arlo Guthrie, on a float. Crowds screamed and cheered as some of the folk legend’s well-known songs”including “Alice’s Restaurant,””played.

“It was a little crazy and very exciting,” said Sarah Lee Guthrie who noted Olivia was the toast of her school because of the event. “We saw a lot of familiar faces in the crowd, people who have been coming to our concerts for years. It was a fun way¦to celebrate family and share it with other people.”

Chances are good that there will be plenty more celebrations ahead especially after February 22nd when Sarah Lee and Johnny release their second full-length album Bright Examples.

Written primarily by Johnny with two songs by Sarah and another the result of a collaboration, the February 22nd release is a musical step away from the more folk-tinged sound fans have come to know. Although Sarah Lee is obviously the product of folk and honors her heritage, she grew up on rock, as did Johnny whose past musical groups include Queen Sarah Saturday.

“Neither of us came from folk background influences,” said Sarah Lee, whose grandfather was the legendary Woody Guthrie. “As a kid I loved rock ‘n’ roll and I love pop music. Johnny has always had a pop sense. We embraced a lot of folk¦.but that was to spring off like a diving board. We are entering a new realm of exciting music.”

And then some.

The album, produced by Vetiver’s Andy Cabic and Thom Monahan, known for his work with Vetiver, Devendra Banhart and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes (who introduced Guthrie and Irion), are filled with an electric country rock sound that’s part psych-rock thanks to plenty of guitars, part alt country as evidenced by pedal steel guitar, part folk and pop”especially in the lyrics” and indie rock.

“I’m very rooted in the indie rock world,” said Irion. “This was definitely a move to create a sound scape for Sarah Lee’s and my vocals.”

Although U2’s The Edge was originally interested in producing the album, Irion thinks that Cabic and Monahan brought out points in the song that wouldn’t have come out with other producers.

“It’s a culmination of folk, indie rock, classic pop, alt country, all the worlds coming together,” he said. Some producers aren’t players and have a hard time and just stay on the knobs. With Sarah Lee and I, we need to sit down with guitars and play. It’s all very organic. I’m glad [it didn’t work out with] The Edge. Tom Monahan has the best ears in business right now and made all kinds of great stuff.”

What really impressed Irion was that Tom didn’t back down on the sound he wanted from each song.

“I called him Captain Monahan because trying to change his mind, well, it wasn’t going to happen,” said Irion. “If I said, ‘I thought this one would rock,’ he’d say ‘No, you have to lay back. Then it will be better.’ [The music came about because of] a solid team that just all pulled together.”

That’s also obvious on Sarah Lee’s song “Butterflies” that the duo originally worked up as a bluegrass-flavored song. The producers changed elements of the song so it’s not what Irion describes as “ethereal and floating.”

“When we started doing it [his way] we really liked it,” said Irion. “It works and it makes the record come together. It makes the record a piece of art.”

For more about Sarah Lee and Johnny, check their site.

By Nancy Dunham

Nancy Dunham writes about music for Country Weekly, AOL Music’s site The Boot, The Washington Post, Relix and other publications.