HUSBAND and wife duo My Darling Clementine are almost single-handedly reviving the grand tradition of the country duet.
Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish have both had successful solo careers, with Michael leading The Good Sons and Lou working with the likes of Elvis Costello and Bryan Ferry.
But when, after 10 years of marriage, Michael decided it was time for the pair to do something together, he took inspiration from his love of the 1960s and 1970s duets of George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton and Porter Waggoner, not to mention Johnny and June.
“What I like about duets,” explains Michael, “is that as a listener it’s like eavesdropping on a conversation.
“They are songs for grownups, songs for people who have lived a little and a lot of people relate to that.”
The duo’s first album, ‘How Do You Plead?’ garnered critical acclaim and led to them picking up the BCMA ‘Americana Act Of The Year’ in 2012.
Whereas the unmistakable retro country sound on their debut was conceived with an implicit brief, their follow-up album, ‘The Reconciliation?’ takes on a wider, more contemporary feel.
Michael said: "There was a game plan with the debut to dive deep into late 1960's / early 70's Nashville folklore and emulate those classic country duets.
“For The Reconciliation? we wanted to extend the lyrical side of the songs, deal with more diverse topics other than the cheatin' hurtin', heartbreak scenarios associated with classic country.”
On whether he could perform the songs with anyone else, Michael said, “Some of the songs are based on fictional or observed situations.
“I could probably make a decent fist of singing them with someone else but some of thenew songs are far more personal.”
These include ‘Miracle Mabel’, which is about ‘going through problems to have a child’ and ‘Ashes, Flowers and Dust’ which deals with ‘the death of our parents and how we feel about the fact that they are missing our daughter grow up’.
Although Michael and Lou perform all songs together, Michael says their songwriting process consists of them writing separately and playing the songs to each other, because ‘it reduces the number of rows.
My Darling Clementine play at The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal on February 7.