|Sunday 14 May 2017 @ 02:00pm : -
The Lowest Pair
Kendl Winter, born in Arkansas, moved to Olympia, Washington after high school, drawn to the evergreen forests and the lively and thriving music scene. She put three solo records out on Olympia’s indie label, K Records, and performed in nationally-touring northwest string bands before beginning The Lowest Pair in 2013 with Palmer T. Lee. Palmer built his first banjo when he was 19 from pieces he serendipitously inherited. Shortly after deciding songwriting would be the most effective and enjoyable medium for his musings, he began cutting his teeth fronting Minneapolis string bands and touring the midwest festival circuit, which is where he and Kendl first met, on the banks of the Mississippi.
“Both of us studied roots music and traditional banjo techniques, three finger and clawhammer. We started there and then from our understanding of them have diverged, perhaps because of our own limitations, and probably because we both tend to err on creative. Even when we are attempting to recreate old sounds, we can’t help but have our own twist on it. We approach our instruments as vehicles to explore poetry, song, and melody and have kind of been making up our own sounds in the places where we couldn’t find ones that seemed to fit or make sense to us. We recorded our first album (36cents) in Dave Simonett’s basement a month after we began playing together, and our second (The Sacred Heart Sessions) , a year later, in a beautiful old church in Duluth, MN.” - Kendl
So, back to that Spring of 2016 plan: with little attention to tedious practicalities and with an eye focused securely on delivering to their growing fan base a truly special treat; a rootsy, bluegrassy, old-timish version of meiosis has happened as one new album became two new albums.
For Kendl, making two albums was a natural reflection of the pace they had set and the experiences they had accumulated. “It’s not that the two records have to be next to and with each other, it’s just that it’s all there, our current story, and the stories we’re figuring out.”
Fans already know that the chemistry between Palmer’s Midwestern charm, those long winters spent listening to a steady diet of Townes Van Zandt and John Hartford, and Kendl’s poetic and playful way with words, her unique approach to the banjo, and her barefoot-in- the-cool-river-water mystique combine to make a powerful sound, but what’s new in 2016 is both the inclusion of those non-banjo sounds (harmonica, drum, bass, violin) and an incredible expansion of their songbook. In a way, two records, the playful and the hush, the dark and the rooted, the pillow and the nightmare, the pin drop and the starry night; the juxtaposition of the ups and downs that are experiences in a day, in a year, in a minute, all this has demanded from the band more than just “a new record.” Fern Girl and Ice Man and Uncertain As It Is Uneven mark the arrival of America’s next great musical duo, and it’s over the course of these two albums that that boast becomes clearly rooted in truth.
“A true joy” ~ Rudie Humphrey - AmericanaUK
“Vocal perfection” ~ David Innes, R2 magazine
“A huge breath of fresh air!” ~ Mike Morrison, AmericnaRootsUK
“Music for sunshine and mint juleps” ~ Folk radio UK
“Incredibly atmospheric” ~ Julian Piper, Acoustic magazine
“A musical marriage made in heaven” ~ Declan Culliton, Lonesome Highway (Ireland)
“Voices just born to sing bluegrass and old-time” ~ David Kidman, Fatea magazine
"a duo who doesn’t mind taking the occasional whiff at wide scope lyrical profundity and they connect here with a sweeping personal look at their own lives and the hearts of those around them." ~ No Depression, Cyrus Rhodes 8 out of 10 stars, Uncertain As It Is Uneven
"With their bare-bones instrumentation and country-inspired, heartstring-tugging narratives, The Lowest Pair might be one of the best under-the-radar Americana duos today." ~ PASTE MAGAZINE, Hillary Saunders
"earnest, earthy songcraft." ~ American Songwriter, Evan Schlansky
"Wondrous Banjo Duet" ~ SPIN, Marc McGovern
"Say hello to the first great album of 2014." ~ In Your Speakers, Michael Mangarella
"Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee write about living and dying the way you'd write about waiting for a cake to bake." ~ Daytrotter, Sean Moeller
"A magical combination [...] Real musical chops" ~ Caroline McDonald