Playlist: We asked Johnny Irion: What's your favorite song?

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Johnny Irion is one of Berkshire County's foremost troubadours, and he's married to one (Sarah Lee Guthrie), too. The folk-rocker has been a regular at venues across the county for years; on Friday, Aug. 17, he'll play songs off of his new solo album, "Driving Friend," at The Stationery Factory as part of the 413Heart Music & Arts Festival (concert tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door; tickets available at stationery-factory.com). Irion's 10-track record was released on the Blackwing Music label (incidentally, the organization 's name is derived from the artisan pencil brand it acquired). Part of the proceeds from album sales will go to the Blackwing Foundation, which "funds and develops arts and music education in public schools," according to the label's website.

Before Irion's show, the Washington resident answered some questions about his favorite songs by phone.

What's your favorite song?

That's such a hard question. ... If I'm pressed on that right now, I'd have to say "Love and Mercy" by Brian Wilson right now just because of the message — it's brilliant. That goes along with all the other incredible songs he's written.

What's your favorite rap song?

I guess it would have to be the Run-DMC/Aerosmith mash-up ["Walk this Way"] or "Planet Rock" [by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force].

What's your favorite song to dance to?

Any Motown song.

What's your favorite song to belt out in the car?

"Country Roads," John Denver. I'm joking. I take that back even though my girls [he and Guthrie have two daughters] were screaming it at the top of their lungs the other day. ... "And Your Bird Can Sing" by The Beatles.

What's been your favorite song to perform live over the years?

I'll have to go with a song called "Bright Examples." ... I met a hiker off the Appalachian Trail, and he inspired the song. ... They get lost by our house all the time, so I just kind of always come back to that one.

What's your favorite song off of the new record?

To play or to listen to?

How about we do both.

I think to play would be "Salvage the Day." And then to listen to, I like listening to "Driving Friend." That's the title track. All of [the record] was done on a 24-track Studer tape machine. ... I hijacked a tape machine from Jackson Browne's studio in LA.

Benjamin Cassidy can be reached at bcassidy@berkshireeagle.com, at @bybencassidy on Twitter and 413-496-6251.


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