Country folk band Dear Lemon Trees is more than a balanced collage of solo artists gone trio. Their music is a glass of homemade sun tea on a hot Southern porch, a match made in countryside heaven.
It’s impossible to avoid flashbacks to the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack while soaking up the lush voices of Kathleen Grace, Leslie Stevens and Jamie Drake (and their microphone, named Louise). Each woman rotates between lead singer and supporting vocals and plays acoustic guitar, banjo or tenor guitar.
The girls make the circus act of changing pace, instruments and vocals into a subtle, natural flow, a skill they learned from their individual pasts with traditional country and folk music.
“We have this history of being songwriters,” Drake says. “Being friends for a long time and creating music for a long time, it’s been an organic process. We go song by song.”
The melodic richness the trio kindles on stage is contagious. The three stoic yet gentle women huddle intimately around their ear-trumpet microphone, exchanging glances like a childhood secret.
“We do that a lot, actually,” Drake laughs. “A lot of the eye contact moments are when we’re really connected as a group, really enjoying each other and those musical moments. There’s so much trust that we have with each other.”
When the women hit that perfect harmony, Drake explains, it feels like a warm vibration — a moment that comes from relentless arranging, tuning and practicing the intricacies of seemingly simple songs.
Dear Lemon Trees released their first EP, Gravity, in February, and the girls are working on releasing a full-length album, which will be packed with harmonies akin to “a soaring eagle,” Drake says.
Delve into musical moments with Dear Lemon Trees 7 pm Wednesday, June 16, at Territorial Vineyards or 8:30 pm Sunday, June 18, at the Axe and Fiddle in Cottage Grove. Both shows are SOLD OUT.