Country Cool

The Earnest Lovers

The Earnest Lovers
The Earnest Lovers

Listing your favorite music genres to include “everything but country” has been in vogue since country went from Hank Williams to Kenny Chesney. But honky-tonk duo The Earnest Lovers are making country cool again with their ’50s and ’60s-style serenades.

Leslie Beia and Pete Krebs met only a year ago at the Landmark Saloon, a watering hole for Portland’s country-music scene. They have since released the EP Sing Sad Songs, performed at Pickathon and What The Festival, and the twangy outfit has performed as a duo, trio and a six-piece.

Currently, the band is focusing on the duet sound: Krebs on electric, Beia on acoustic and their accompanying resonant voices.

“We want to keep a foot in [honky tonk] for sure and I think that both Pete’s and my sensibility is pretty wrapped up in that kind of music,” Beia says. “But I don’t think that we’re always going to have the really strict six-piece band in the recordings with steel [guitar].”

The band’s success can be partially attributed to Beia and Krebs’ longstanding roots in the Oregon music scene. Beia has been in several bands including The Lowburners and Copper & Coal. Krebs was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2013 with his band mates from ’90s alt-rock band Hazel; he also split an album with Elliott Smith in 1994. (In Portland, even a country band has indie-rock roots.)

The beauty of country is hearing experience in a voice, and this duo has racked up enough to fuel their honky-tonk harmonies for years to come.

Corwin Bolt and the Wingnuts and saltlick join The Earnest Lovers 9 pm Saturday, Sept. 5, at Sam Bond’s Garage; $7. 21-plus.