Pete Krebs and Leslie Beia's voices pair as splendidly as the twangy electric and expressive steel guitars do on their tune "San Andreas' Fault".
Although Portland, Oregon is a hotbed for numerous varietals of folk -- most of which undoubtedly fall under that increasingly meaningless "indie" label -- the city is not particularly known for its country music scene, even though the many farming towns not far from the city of sloe gin fizz are big on country culture. Yet even in a comparatively small music scene, some voices can stand out: enter Pete Krebs and Leslie Beia, who go by the name the Earnest Lovers when performing as a duo. Debuting at Oregon's Pickathon Festival in 2014, the Earnest Lovers display a knack for all of country music's requisite traits, as can be clearly heard on their debut EP, Sing Sad Songs. (If ever there was a title that captures country music's general lyrical ethos, it's that one.) Below you can stream the EP cut "San Andreas' Fault", which is chock full of harmonizing, both between Krebs and Beia's vocals and the dueling electric/steel guitars, which are ripe with twang.
“This song ended up being about some friends of ours," Beia says to PopMatters, describing the song in detail, "In which one of the people was very jealous and accusatory over something that wasn’t much of a concern. After Pete started writing the song, we realized that was what it was ultimately about, so we shifted it to a real-life experience. Kind of the running joke in the band is that none of the guys know what it’s about, but the metaphor is that the woman is an earthquake, who’s putting up with a lot and building up pressure over time. Pete has some Californian in him, he was born and raised there, and he tends to place a lot of his songs in desert areas and in California in general. I specifically remember him saying that he’d been looking around at the map of California kind of looking for inspiration, and Calaveras County caught his attention. He liked the sound of that. So he started basing the song around that. Sometimes friendships and partnerships fall apart, and it’s ultimately about needing to let go of past insecurities to build trust, in a broader sense.”
Sing Sad Songs is out now via Elko.