The husband-wife songwriting duo that is the nucleus of Cloverdayle appears more clean-cut suburban than gritty country-western, with Chad Hamar seemingly more prone to wear a knit cap than a cowboy hat, and Rachel Lamar's wholesome look straight out of a Bikram yoga class.
But then they open their mouths, and out pours classic wry C&W humor and achy-breaky lyrics—turns of phrase that are clever but somehow familiar; lyrics that are self-deprecating, yet cheeky enough not to be bleak; and an attitude that is self-defeating yet in such a charming way as to not be too sad. Their first full-length album, for example, was titled, 9 Miles Down a 10 Mile Road, and one of their flagship songs, "Drink, Drink, Drink," pivots on the line, "if I'm overthinking, I must be under-drinking."
Rachel is originally from Bend—"Bend High," she yells out in a phone interview as they were driving somewhere in the vicinity of Sacramento—and Chad grew up near Portland; not really the stuff of hardscrabble country-western legends.
Moreover, there is a clear paradox in that they have been a happy couple since teenagers and married for a decade, not necessarily fodder for broken hearts and despair. Yet, their songs touch on earnest pain, and Rachel's voice is both sad and sweet.
"It goes against the grain for sure," quips Rachel, whose giddiness is infectious even on a crackly cell phone call, and downright intoxicating at their live shows. She goes on, "We love the country format, and we do write what is true to us, and we have plenty of people we know who have gone through breakups."
Laughing, she adds, "A lot of couples shouldn't do what we do," referring to working together on creative projects and traveling on the road together. "It is very rare that two creative types can be in the same room day in, day out."
Nearly two years ago, the couple relocated to Nashville, specifically to work on their second full length album with producer Steve Sundhold, whose credits include luminaries like Kenny Rogers and Carrie Underwood; and, more generally, says Rachel, to soak up the ambiance and attitude of Nashville.
"We wanted to push ourselves to become better songwriters," says Rachel.
2:30 pm, Sunday, July 5
Les Schwab Amphitheater