Nashville-based country duo Cloverdayle, formerly of Portland (and formerly of Bend, in vocalist Rachel Hamar’s case), will return to Volcanic Theatre Pub on Thursday. To celebrate the homecoming, here’s a look back at the duo’s self-titled, third studio album, released in June.
The full-length, produced by Steve Sundholm and Cloverdayle, is Chad and Rachel Hamar’s second since moving to Nashville in 2013, and second to be fully crowd-funded through Kickstarter. Despite the history, the album is a statement of identity in the grand tradition of other self-titled releases, showcasing the couple’s Pacific Northwest roots and the new things they’ve learned in their adopted hometown.
These songs comfortably reside within the country-pop idiom that dominates the airwaves, but that’s not a knock at all. Within that template, the Hamars find plenty of room for wistful ballads (“I’ll Remember,” the melancholy heartbreak of “Let Me Go”), crunching rockers (“Hello Tonight” was born to be a set opener, and kicks things off in style here) and darker-sounding material (“Under the Influence,” “I Gave it All”). Throughout, the lyrics remain positive, even while Rachel sings about some pretty dark themes on standout “Scars” or the piano-driven “Legacy.”
At 16 tracks and just less than an hour in length, the album has some slow spots. “Make it a Tall One” is a fine drinking song in the tradition of hundreds of country drinking songs that have come before, but doesn’t add much to the form. A few more edits could have made the highlights pop that much more.
And those highlights are pretty high, especially “Last Dirt Road.” Lamenting industrialization and the loss of natural beauty, the duo draws on its Oregon roots for a story-song that in this case does find new angles on an old chestnut. It’s as real as it gets, and in country music, that’s key.
Cloverdayle: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, doors open at 7 p.m.; $15; Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Drive, Bend; volcanictheatre.com or 541-323-1881.