The Lowest Pair brought their front porch sound to the jazzy darkness of the Dakota on Thursday night. The room was full of admirers making the downtown urbane club more down home and cozy.
The Lowest Pair is the duo of singing, banjo playing, guitar playing and at least one harmonica playing song writers. Palmer T. Lee is from Minnesota. Kendl Winter is from Arkansas but has transplanted herself to Olympia, Washington. Their last album was Fern Girl & Ice Man. It seems an apt description of them.
They have an earnest sound. Both have aspirated voices that feel like storytelling. Winter’s voice can bring on a trill – like a more mountain version of early Dolly Pardon. Lee’s voice can become almost aggressive like traditional Irish singer talking about the Brits. And the voices blend well together.
Each has a turn at center stage. Each supports the other. They sing in harmony and at times with a countermelody. They do the same with the instruments. There are times when they play together and times when they play around each other like smoke swirling – either way it works.
They opened with The Sky is Green from Uncertain as it is Uneven – the gullible song! She’s on the banjo, he’s on guitar. She’s singing. It sounds like a summer day. They played new songs too – such as Take What You Can Get, which seems more country, less blue grass to me and Bent Out of Shape, which Palmer introduced as a gospel.
The second set opened with Dock My Boat, which is upbeat. And then one of my favorites – Headed to the River. Tough to beat two banjos played fast. I think that was when I had to quit sitting, which is one of the rare downsides of the Dakota.
They made the whole house happy when they ended the second set (pre-encore) with Rosie – an imploring song that showcases their voices.