Fueled by whiskey, vinyl, and asphalt, not to mention several lifetimes of heartache, the Stubborn Lovers play country and rock ‘n’ roll songs that sound like forgotten classics. Imagine the Dixie Chicks jamming with Bruce Springsteen at a lonesome roadhouse: gorgeous harmonies over big beats and ringing guitars.
Though based in the indie-rock mecca of Portland, Oregon, the quartet’s country pedigree is genuine: singer/guitarist Mandy Allan hails from Hendersonville, Tennessee, where her grandfather delivered mail to the home of Johnny and June Carter Cash, while lead guitar-slinger Todd Melton learned his licks in the heart of Kentucky’s hill country.
Bassist Jenny Taylor grew up along the storied highways of New Jersey, and thus wears a fondness for anthemic blue-collar rock on her sleeve, while drummer and Idahoan Michael “Pearl” Nelson grounds the band both musically and geographically as the sole Northwest native.
The Stubborn Lovers have been privileged to share the stage with a number of country and Americana luminaries, including Lydia Loveless, Lindi Ortega, two-time Grammy nominee Brandy Clark, and legendary Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen. In 2015 they released an eponymous EP and were twice nominated for awards by Portland alt newsweekly Willamette Week: first as the year’s Best New Band, and again in the annual readers’ poll as Best Alt Country Band.
A second EP, Feathers and Bones, was released in 2016, and showcases the band’s evocative, rootsy sound across four songs, from the shimmering pop hooks of “So Jealous So Stupid” to the driving country thump of “Evermore”, from the soulful “Flaming June” to the moody and sinuous “Devil Take My Heart”.
The band is currently at work on their first full-length album. Recorded at a studio that once hosted Willie Nelson, the nine-song Flowers of the Vine expands their musical palette to include Southern rock and outlaw country, ‘70s heartland rock and AM gold, desert Americana, and bits of bluegrass, blues, and soul.