Tift and Scott describe their music as “Americana” and “new folk,” but their complex style of guitar and dobro and lovely harmonies leave no doubt that this not your grandfather’s folk. Tom effortlessly weaves original guitar leads around Leslie’s dobro or guitar, all the while sweetly harmonizing songs about life and love. The variety of their music ranges from modern folk to smart county swing to traditional tunes with a contemporary sound.
“We do folk to torch tunes to the Carter Family and everything in between,” Scott says. “Our music crosses many generations.”
The pair played local venues for several years, but Tift says that after the 2010 release of their first CD, “Up On Cedar Ridge,” the invitations to play a variety of venues began to arrive.
From an initial offer to play at Artichoke Music in Portland, they began to get requests to perform along the West Coast. “It was like a dream come true,” Tift says of the rash of invitations. “I would think, ‘pinch me’ to see if it was really happening.
“We played a series of house concerts in Santa Cruz, Los Gatos, Grants Pass, Humboldt and in Mount Shasta,” Tift says. “House concerts are one of our favorite venues to play. It’s intimate and you share the emotions with your audience.”
Adds Scott: “You make good friends. It’s like having an extended family.”
Although they play as a duo for most of their performances, “Up On Cedar Ridge” includes a highly talented group of back-up musicians that include pedal steel, mandolin, percussion, banjo, fiddle, bass, clarinet and cello masterfully recorded and produced by Blue Dragon Studios in Mount Shasta.
When they began to get radio air play, the reality of their success really began to sink in.
“We hear our songs on JPR, and we’ve been played on stations in Portland, Seattle and Chico,” Tift says. “When we heard we had air time on a West Virginia station, it was another ‘pinch me’ moment.”
Scott writes most of their original material, and he says he writes with “my heart on my sleeve.”
“I don’t know where it comes from, but I write a lot about love,” Tom says. “Love is really important.”
The pair are hard at work, with six songs laid down on their second CD, also recorded at Blue Dragon Studios.
“We have a lot of fun,” says Blue Dragon founder and owner Terry Lawhon. “They are easy to work with and we have come to trust each other.”
The feeling is mutual.
“Terry is a joy to work with,” Tift says. “He has become a good friend.”
Through it all, the pair have retained a respect for their music and a humble appreciation for their fans.
“Every little piece of this musical journey makes me overflow with gratitude,” Tift says.
Scott also has a reverence for their success. “I am humbled when complete strangers ask me when our new CD is coming out,” he says. “When I hear people singing the words along with us when we perform, the hairs stand up on my arms.”
If the success of “Up On Cedar Ridge” is any indication, the new CD may just send Tift and Scott to a whole new level of recognition. Pinch me, anyone? •