31 July 2016 (released)
27 April 2017
Let Go or Be Dragged, as its name suggests, is a collection of laid-back Americana that asks you take a step back to find what's truly important.
Silver Lake 66's brand takes a pinch of honk from the southeast but leans heavily on the tremolo-heavy western sound from that swath of America cut from the Utah salt flats down to West Texas, El Paso. In recent years, the songwriting duo of Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo have found their way home to the capital of quirky, Portland from the midwest by way of southern California. In that unlikeliest of country hotbeds, the duo has found a tribe of compadres to fuel their sonic vision. From that inspired place comes Let Go or Be Dragged, a collection of 12 songs about missed people and places mixed with a message of perseverance and progress. Overbo's voice honks lightly with his telecaster when singing leads but he dials it back to a warm support when backing the songs where Francis takes the lead. Her voice has a soft strength. Plain-spoken and warm like coming into a big home-cooked country meal.
Album opener and lead single 'Bury My Bones in Arkansas', chimes in with pedal steel and slide guitar all sliding you gently into the sauntering beat. Overbo waxes poetic about the deep south recalling old stories and songs. Francis sweetens Overbo's assertions with lilting grace. Subtle organ coalesces with the wistful pedal steel to create a dream-like memory of that place even for those who have never set foot on its soil.
Overbo finds his sweet spot on 'Devil's Looking for Me', a darker, whiskey soaked, western number that takes wavy guitar queues from Link Ray. A fiendish blues growl creeps into his voice. Francis takes the lead on songs like 'Magnolia', 'Treat Me So Fine', 'Sherman County' and 'Price You Pay'. Her voice relays a calming wisdom that is reassuring and resilient. All of them beautiful pieces.
Let Go or Be Dragged is an album that is reflective of lessons learned. Not steeped in the turmoil but looking back fondly at the hard-fought battles and reveling in the successes to which they led. Silver Lake 66 have made a charming record paying homage to the salt of the earth.