Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

03/27/2018

Pretty Gritty's "Seven Year Itch" drops day after Portland gig

By LOU FLESH // Sarah Wolff and Blaine Heinonen sing songs that feel alive, like make-out sessions on warm lake sand. Pretty Gritty CD release at Mission Theatre Thursday, March 29

 CD RELEASE SHOW: Thursday, March 29, Mission Theatre

Pretty Gritty came to Portland, OR by way of Maryland a few years back, and have brought two of the finest voices you’ll hear in the region. On new album Seven Year Itch, co-vocalists and bandleaders Sarah Wolff and Blaine Heinonen sing songs that feel alive, like make-out sessions on warm lake sand and tasting raw honey; smelling sweet pine and sipping expensive whiskey by the jar. Like a male-female Everly Brothers they vocalize and play what's come to be known as Americana. 

Speaking of the Everlys, a cover “All I Have To Do Is Dream” is a deep track on the full length, a culmination of experiences from two DIY national tours and settling in and busking in the Pacific NW. That mellifluous cover is perfectly placed along with other denim and silk originals like simmering single “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” with other well-chosen covers (“If I Were A Carpenter”). Working with producers Fred Cannon & Paul Buono at Creative & Dreams Music Network in Nashville, they’re following up their Lonely Road EP from 2016. 

Though all these tracks have been lovingly casked in their talented skills long enough to sound like standards, there’s still a sparkling freshness reminiscent of the “open-mic” energy the two must have felt when they met at one in Montgomery County, MD. Both had been vets from other rock bands, but their gleaming talents entwined like a rattlesnake through brush, leading them to open for acts like Tim O’Brian, Rod PIcott, Tony Trischka, and Chris Eldridge, playing out from all over, from Washington to Arkansas. Such road-determination and creative serendipity is drawn from musical royalty like Johnny and June and George and Tammy. 

There have been many great performers who have come out of the heartlands over the past few decades, and scores of decent enough records to collect tapping into Country, Soul, Pop, Rock, and Blues. But Pretty Gritty is as dialectical as their name; combining the beauty of the land with melancholy darkness. You can’t help but feeling it. There are many male-female roots duos these days, but Seven Year Itch sounds the opposite of a cash-in or trend-grab; it sounds like the recording of a classic band whose time has come. 

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Comments

Verna Cohen

One of the best albums I've heard in years. "Love Doesn't Live Here Anymore " should live on as a classic for many years to come. I love these two!!

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