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CD Review: johnny irion

The Deal: Folkie gets high on pop.

The Good: Like Neil Young, Johnny Irion isn't afraid to attack a note. The struggle, while not always tuneful, is usually interesting. Irion's plaintive, preteen-sounding vocals are made more melodic by Tift Merrit's ace rhythm section of bassist Jay Brown and Zeke Hutchins. The irony is Irion has a pleasant singing voice when he drops down an octave, like on "Brush Your Teeth Blues." "Short Leash" would have been better in a lower register, but it's saved by wife Sarah Lee's gorgeous backing vocals. Irion is most palatable on the harder rockin' tunes like "Madrid."

The Bad: Still it's tough to get through some cuts. Irion's vocals on "She Cast Fire" are so shaky and thin, it's painful to listen to.

The Verdict: It's for fans -- they'll enjoy watching Irion stretching out a bit from his folky role in Sarah Lee And Johnny, Sarah Lee being Woody's granddaughter and Arlo's child.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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