Their High Royalnesses

All that time spent in the Seattle punk scene greatly affected Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison, otherwise known as the Dutchess and the Duke. Their voices betray the acoustic duo as weathered road dogs, so even in their most tender moments (of which there are many) their singing is scored by deep cuts of hard-drink livin.’ Lortz’ country baritone laments in particular come off like butterfly kisses from a bristly five o’clock shadow, his attempts to offer intimacy spiked with rough worry on tracks like “Reservoir Park” (“Tell me what am I gonna do/So I can see, so I can be the same as everyone?”), from last year’s debut, She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke. Morrison lifts her partner’s heavy drawl off the tear ‘n’ beer stained pillow, her harmonies hinting at a softer, sweeter brand of sadness. Together they make excellent, Stones-inspired balladry about the hardships of leaving and longing using a minimum of instruments — occasionally using only handclaps for percussion, for example. The Dutchess and the Duke, who are back in town to record a new album with local garage mastermind Greg Ashley, entertain a late happy hour set with Blankdogs and Naked on the Vague.
Mon., March 30, 7-10 p.m., 2009

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