Based out of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, the Guthries originally began when three of its members performed in the Booming Airplanes in the mid-'90s. Deciding to perform music they enjoyed playing in their spare time, the band started in August 1998. Led by brothers Dale and Brian Murray (nephews of Anne Murray) and brother and sister Gabriel and Ruth Minnikin, the group recorded its debut album in 2000. The Guthries also added Matt Mays to its core of members. Recording near a railroad track off Windmill Road, the band released Off Windmill to great praise and acclaim. The band performed around Halifax bars such as Planet Pool and the Attic. While performing at the Attic, the band met a representative from Brobdingnagian Records. The Guthries signed with the label and toured throughout North America and Europe. Reviews in No Depression and other major music publications praised the band for its comparisons to the Band. In 2001, the Guthries severed its relationship with Brobdingnagian Records and also parted ways with Matt Mays. The band expanded its sound to include horns and strings for its second album. The band's second album, The Guthries, was released in 2002. The group has also been compared to the Jayhawks, Wilco, and Uncle Tupelo. Other highlights for the band include a hour-long television special on Country Music Television.