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.