Luke and Rachael Price met while attending the Berklee College of Music, waiting in line during orientation. A few months later they would start making music together, after Luke was able to convince Rachael to sing some songs for him. To this day they're still partners in music, and also in life, as husband and wife.
Now the Portland-based duo goes by Love, DEAN, and the two are celebrating the release of their debut album October 15. Luke and Rachael will be coming to Bend October 19 and 20 for a show at Bend Cider Co. after they play in their current home city to kick the release off.
The self-titled album has been in the works for quite some time now—six years, to be exact, and both Rachael and Luke are leaning into the celebratory phases of the album release process—something they had to delay and navigate around the pandemic as independent artists. The 11 songs were a collaborative process, some where the two wrote together from the start, others where it was an individual moment, and sometimes somewhere in between. Talking to the pair, you can hear the fondness they share for the music they've made and also each other's talents. You can hear that same warmth and love on the album.
"We really feel strongly for all of the songs. Which is something I'm proud of and did not expect to happen," said Luke.
The two singles off the album, "Fool" and "Put a Record On," are each great examples of the poppy and tender soul mix that Love, DEAN creates. There's an aura around the latter that makes you want to pull your loved one closer and embrace in a slow and soft dance. The former gives more of a take-to-the-streets, be-who-you-are vibe. Both are brilliant pieces of music.
"The singles that we've put out, we're really proud of. I think 'Put a Record On" is one of the ones I'm most proud of. That community piece and that togetherness. I don't know... there's just something very genuine about it to me," \ Rachael said. "I'm also excited about 'Whitest Doves.' Playing it live I feel like it has affected people in ways I didn't expect. I have a deep connection with that one because it was my brother's favorite and he passed away. In a way it will be like honoring him once it's out."
The duo came from different musical backgrounds, but ended up settling on a soul-influenced and focused sound. They share similar influences of Sam Cooke, D'Angelo, and Stevie Wonder. Luke Grew up with old gospel music and says Rachael put him on to some other Motown greats. You'll be able to hear these influences on the record, such as on "Honey Pie," a Love, DEAN original that takes spirit from D'Angelo and elsewhere. The glowing stories of the album are told through heartfelt lyrics and moments of velvet harmony, guiding the listener on a journey of empathy, self-love and appreciation.
"I think a lot of it is very personal. There's a lot of things covered in the songs that are just us, building our life together. Doing what we do and sharing that with people. But a lot of it is relatable. We hope people feel encouraged and enlightened by the music," Rachael said.
"There's a sense of encouragement and community. There's a lot of different stories in there. But it's centered around coming together," added Luke.
As they gear up for the release, both are feeling the surrealness of all of their efforts coming to fruition. They are beyond ready to play these songs live for the people of Bend—a spot both love to spend time in. For Luke, he grew up in Idaho and says the High Desert weather and vibe in town gives him a sense of home. And for Rachael, she grew up coming here every winter—a tradition she and Luke try to keep.
"I grew up going there every Christmas, my family would rent out a place. So I have a soft spot in my heart for Bend," says Rachael.
Tue-Wed. Oct. 19-20, 6-8pm
Bend Cider Co.
64649 Wharton Ave., Bend