Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey: Live Last Night

Live Last Night

Harmonizing into a single microphone last night at Iota, Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey looked a little and sounded a lot like the Everly Brothers. The resemblance was not coincidental. The veteran North Carolina pop-rockers included two Everlys tunes, "The Lord of the Manor'' and "Let It Be Me,'' in their 75-minute set.

Yet the singer-songwriters, who fronted the dB's three decades ago, are less Phil and Don than Paul and John: Holsapple writes bright melodies and direct lyrics, while Stamey's work tends to be trickier and more sardonic.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

The distinction was clear on Monday, even though most of the material came from the brand new "Here and Now,'' a low-key collection that's the duo's first album together since 1991's "Mavericks.''

Holsapple's songs included "Early in the Morning,'' a mildly regretful ode to middle-aged domesticity: "I'm your cheap date/But I remember when I wasn't.'' Stamey responded with "Tape Op Blues,'' a tale of recording-studio self-delusion: "The first few weeks went swimmingly/We fired the drummer and drank coffee.''

Despite some first-night-of-the-tour flubs, Holsapple and Stamey gracefully reclaimed their partnership. Backed by an acoustic bassist and a discreet drummer, the twosome showed a common taste in covers (American power-pop progenitor Chris Bell, British cult band Family) and the strong affinity for their own songs.

The evening's perfect segue was from Stamey's "Santa Monica,'' the new album's loveliest number, to Holsapple's "Nothing Is Wrong,'' a dB's classic. The duo's voices don't meld as closely as the Everlys', but their songs fit together fine.


By J. Freedom du Lac |  June 9, 2009; 12:14 PM ET Live Last Night
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