With influences ranging from the traditional and anonymous folk songs of old to trip hop and classic rock, the Sweethearts’ blend is rich and delicious. Some fans liken them to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, others to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, while a recent reviewer said “[her] honeyed vocals and [his] smooth crooning create wonderful harmonies together, with well-crafted... more
With influences ranging from the traditional and anonymous folk songs of old to trip hop and classic rock, the Sweethearts’ blend is rich and delicious. Some fans liken them to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, others to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, while a recent reviewer said “[her] honeyed vocals and [his] smooth crooning create wonderful harmonies together, with well-crafted arrangements, and skillfull musicianship…” Popatunes, June, 2013. The two trade off on guitars, piano and pedal steel, while locking in tight harmonies reminiscent of the Jayhawks or The Civil Wars.
The dynamic duo behind Pretend Sweethearts met while studying music therapy. Though she professed dislike for him at first, the two eventually found they had some grand affinities: mystical tendencies, a love of vocal harmony, non-violence and an incurable wanderlust. After de Man broke his back falling from a great height, Brianna took sympathy on him and began carrying his guitar to class for him. The two began singing together quite by accident: one night at a party, they found themselves leading a sing-along of Beatles tunes and spent the rest of the night in a corner, singing every old folk song they could muster. Their voices blended in an easy, sweet harmony and thus began a partnership in songwriting and performing that the two treat like a personal religion.
Brianna Lynn grew up in Oregon, had an itchy foot and spent years wandering in far-flung places like Tanzania, India, Japan and Brooklyn, then brought herself home to raise her newborn daughter. With a music teacher dad and a fortune-teller for a mom, she studied voice, piano and clairvoyance while still a girl. Her first outing was an oddball combo of drums, bass, cello, guitar and keys called Dreaming in Colors, with which she released a bright collection of smart rock songs.
Drew de Man (yes, that is his real last name) is from Georgia, cut his teeth on the blues in his daddy's hometown in Arkansas. Mom insisted on guitar lessons, and introduced him to yoga and country music. From 2001-2007 de Man fronted No River City--an alt-country band that gained accolades from No Depression, Magnet and The Village Voice, as well as fond attention from Europe. Between vagabonding and playing with No River City, Drew's own wanderlust led him to Bolivia, England, Egypt and all over the continental US before depositing him in Portland.
Like gin and juice, like a razor and a boot, like lightning and the mountaintop, the uniting of powerful forces brings magic, storms and intoxication. The Sweethearts see visions and use music as medicine. The duo spent their first year together calling themselves Vagabond & Tramp, but found themselves more compelled by the ambiguous nature of their relationship. They’ve played the standard bill of dive bars and coffee shops, but take much more pride in their compassionate service work, performing for elders in retirement homes, community sing-alongs and for prisoners behind bars.less