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Keweenaw Flower

The Company I Keep

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The Jellyman's Daughter
The Lowest Pair have John Hartford to thank for their name – and the title of one of their latest albums.

We say one as they have been so creative recently that they issued two new releases - together - in 2016.

The duo has been building up an impressive Stateside head of steam since combining in 2013 to embark on their incredible musical journey.

Kendl Winter, born in Arkansas, put three solo records out and performed in nationally-touring northwest string bands before forming The Lowest Pair with Palmer T. Lee. Palmer built his first banjo when he was 19 from pieces he serendipitously inherited. He began cutting his teeth fronting Minneapolis string bands and touring the midwest festival circuit, which is where he and Kendl first met, on the banks of the Mississippi.

In 2015, while touring in support of their second, critically-acclaimed album, The Sacred Heart Sessions, they continued to write and found themselves with more new songs than they needed for their planned follow-up, deciding ambitiously that two collections should be released together.

The new records, Fern Girl and Ice Man, and Uncertain As It Is Uneven, could be viewed as windows into their growing and changing world. The latter stays the course of their previous releases, being focused on stripped down, intimate arrangements to support their timeless song-writing and haunting vocals.

Fern Girl is a more moody and adventurous exploration of new sounds, new studio production directions, and what it might sound like to be supported by a full band, while keeping one foot planted in the rootsy aesthetics which drew them together.

When the albums were simultaneously released in the UK, the reaction was enthusiastic and instantaneous.

Respected writer Mike Morrison described them as “a huge breath of fresh air” at the AmericanRootsUK website while the hugely-influential Lonesome Highway (Ireland) called them “a musical marriage made in heaven.” Acoustic magazine’s Julian Piper said they were “incredibly atmospheric” and Folk Radio UK labelled it “music for sunshine and mint juleps.”

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