Now Playing: Silver Lake 66’s ‘The Space Between Us’ 

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silver lake 66
Image courtesy of Silver Lake 66



Silver Lake 66 is prepping for the release of a new album. It’s titled The Space Between Us and has a drop date of June 17th. But first, for those of you not yet familiar with the act in question, a bit o’ background.

Silver Lake 66 

silver lake 66
Silver Lake 66 /Photo by Jason Quigley.

The Portland, Oregon-based pair of singer-songwriter/musicians Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo is the (ahem) ragged heart and soul of Silver Lake 66. According to their official website, their premiere platter Let Go Or Be Dragged hit the record racks in 2016.

Signature Sound

Silver Lake 66’s signature sound is a blend of Americana and folk with a subtle, occasional touch of the blues.  

The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us is an 11-track album. All of the songs were written solely by Francis or Overbo. It is their third album. Here Francis (vocals, acoustic guitar, drums, and percussion) and Overbo (vocals, lap steel, dobro, and acoustic, 12-string, and baritone guitars) lead the way on this new CD.  

They are backed by other artists including Bryan Daste (pedal steel string arrangements and background vocals), Toupee Zehr (bass), Paul Brainard (trumpet), and Mary-Sue Tobin (saxophone). Also featured here is Bizarre Star Strings which includes Kyleen King (viola and violin), Patti King (violin), and Jesse Dettwiler (cello).  

Track by Track

 The album opens on “Bun E. Carlos.” It’s a fun track that earned the right to score an accompanying music video. It’s also the first example of Overbo’s songwriting.  (The title is a clever reference to how the pair met.)  

The second selection is “Let Your Heart Break.” This upbeat song is the first example of Francis’ songwriting skills and includes a melody that contrasts the rough reality of the subject. It is undoubtedly apropos of what the duo was going through during the more difficult stages of the epidemic.  

The titular “The Space Between Us” follows here. This one is a slower, bittersweet piece about drifting apart and a love lost. While it is not an unexpected topic, they make it work nonetheless.  

Things pick up again on “I-5 Drifting.” It’s soundtrack-ready and is a definite road trip track courtesy of Overbo.  

The next number is “Relief.” While the signature sound remains intact it has a slight blues tinge to it and is one of those songs nigh-perfect for performing in one of those long-gone smoky roadhouses.

“Easier” follows here. While the theme and overall composition here are familiar, the cut maintains its own identity. Jenny Conlee-Drizos understatedly guests on piano.

“When You Fall”, like the previous two tracks, is also a song by Francis. The back-and-forth presentation of their work as individual composers continues to keep things interesting although they work so well together you would not always know who wrote which song.

“Take Some More Of These” is a strong final example of what Overbo can do as a songwriter. But again, these two are generally so in sync you’d be hard-pressed to tell who wrote what. Hank Rasco guests on keyboards.

“Blue Sky” is a standout country bar bit that might not get the attention it deserves. It has almost a familiar feel to it as if it’s at least subconsciously a tuneful tip of the hat to those who have gone before them.  

Also included here is “Sweet Compassion.” This too is particularly appropriate for a time in history when so many people feel as if we are divided and yet the message is both timeless and universal. Hank Rasco guests on keyboards.

The closing cut is “I’ll Sing The Blues.” It’s an emotional, rootsy Americana ballad by Francis and one of the first songs off the project. It’s an apt album endnote that demonstrates the act’s empathy.

Overall… 

Overall, this disc is largely a reflection of or certainly the result of recent times. According to a recent email, the performing pair took some solace in songwriting during the COVID crisis. Their heartfelt, memorable songs are evidence of this.  

Surprisingly, the tuneful twosome managed to maintain their sense of humor during the recent pandemic and it is demonstrated in some of the material here.  They work well together and continue to be both entertaining, reflective, and progressive in their songwriting exploring a variety of topics from the simplest of joys to nigh-universal human struggles. So check out Silver Lake 66’s The Space Between Us because it just might make your day a bit “Easier.”