The Lowest Pair
"Now, first thing is to say this:
Much further out than inevitable,
Halloween's thy game.
Sky King has come and Wilma's done,
Uncertain as it is uneven.
Give us today hors d'oeuvres in bed,
As we forgive those who have dressed up against us.
And need us not enter inflation,
butter, liver, onions, and potatoes.
For wine is a shingle, and a Moore,
and a story for your Father.
The Lowest Pair
-by John Hartford
The Lowest Pair features the duel banjo picking of Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee. Draped in Kendl’s high lonesome harmonies and Palmer’s Midwest croon, their debut release, 36¢, (Team Love Records) was hailed by many outlets and American Songwriter praised their ”earnest, earthy songcraft.” On Feb 24, 2015, Team Love released their sophomore album, The Sacred Heart Sessions.
Arkansas-born and now homesteading in Olympia, Washington, Kendl Winter sprouts alfalfa beans in mason jars in the back of the tour van and spreads her songs across the country Johnny Appleseed style. Kendl brings to The Lowest Pair her wonderfully weaving poetry of song, old and new, and a voice somewhere between Gillian Welch and Iris DeMent with a little Olympia twist. Palmer T. Lee who hails from Minneapolis was nineteen years old when he inherited a couple of banjos and discovered he could reassemble them into his dream instrument. Former front man for the much loved high energy bluegrass band The Boys n’ the Barrels, Palmer’s songs are distilled into the warm sweet sounds of his percussive wordplay and the melodic interludes of his own unique style played on a pieced together banjo.
After a year of traveling the country playing clubs, hotels, house shows, back yards and street corners, they found their way back up to Minnesota, this time to Duluth where they sat down to record the follow-up to 36¢. Linking up with Tom Fabjance at an old church (the same one Low recorded C’Mon in) seemed like the perfect way to expand on their sound without diluting their original magical formula. The Sacred Heart Sessions is an album that allows the listening to enter the space that surrounds its creation. One can virtually feel the walls and vaulted ceiling of the old wooden church rising up, creating a natural reverb and warming the air.
Be it Kendl’s punk roots, her admiration for the traditional American songbook or the gravitational pull she sensed drawing her to Olympia, it’s her combining these talents and creative impulses with Palmer’s Midwestern charm, the long winters spent listening to a steady diet of Townes Van Zandt and John Hartford and the strange moment of fate that left him with two inherited banjos as a young man; this combination has resulted in a uniquely original sound that is The Lowest Pair.
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