monoblogue music: “Let Go Or Be Dragged” by Silver Lake 66

April 29, 2017 · Posted in Music Reviews 

If you are really into old-line country music with male/female harmony – think of the great duets of yesteryear like Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn or Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton – you just may like the first release from this otherwise unassuming-looking couple pictured to your left. I’m not going to say that this duo will make you forget these long-ago Nashville legends, but you should enjoy the slice of Americana presented by Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo, otherwise known as Silver Lake 66.

They tell a personal tale that could make for its own country song – originally from the Midwest, the couple toiled in Los Angeles for nearly a decade before trying their luck in the most unlikely musical hotbed of Portland, Oregon. It’s not Nashville, but I have noticed over my time of doing album reviews that a lot of roots/Americana/country music comes from that end of the country.

So when you listen to the opening track called Bury My Bones in Arkansas, be warned that it’s the first of twelve tracks that put a relatively modern spin on the tried-and-true formula of male/female harmony. The nice thing is that both spend time in the lead, which freshens up the collection – however, it seems Maria gets the bluesier songs such as Magnolia, Change Your Mind, or Price You Pay, while Jeff leads the more upbeat and humorous tracks like Arkansas or San Francisco Angel. All but one track features some harmony, but it only seems right that Maria handles Treat Me So Fine by herself.

As a group, though, I think the best songs are the ones which are most true to the duet styling: Devils Looking For Me, Do You Ever (perhaps the best example of this), and End of the Day. They also get everyone into the act on the last song, Doctor, which is a fun closing track suitable for an adult beverage of choice.

It’s a bit hard to believe this one’s been out awhile, as it was released last July. Perhaps it’s a sign of maturity or just a comfortable (or, conversely, shall we say working-class?) stage in life but Silver Lake 66 doesn’t stray all that far from their Portland base – they subsist on the somewhat occasional show as opposed to getting the gang together and traveling around the great northwest (or any other part of the country, for that matter.) Yet you don’t have to travel that far to sample their wares – as I often say, don’t take my word for it, just listen for yourself. As I said, if you really like the classic country you’ll probably be glad you did.

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