Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo define modern Americana with Silver Lake 66. With a winning amalgamation of classic country, folk and blues, their songs have been hailed by numerous publications and radio stations. They’ve shared the stage with roots rock and country staples Gurf Morlix and Jim Lauderdale. Given their knack for authentic, heartstring-tugging songwriting, impeccable harmonies and ardent guitar-playing, it’s no wonder that the duo has been consistently on the rise. Together, they perform outstanding roots-laden duets following in the footsteps of Americana greats from Lucinda Williams to Shovels and Rope.
The couple first began playing music together in the Midwest. First and foremost, Francis and Overbo met in Minneapolis and lingered there for a while. Following several years of recording and performing locally, the duo decided that it was time for a change and they hit the road for SoCal with their Ford van, their guitars and their trusty dog, Bernie.
For nearly a decade through the 1990s, Francis and Overbo called Los Angeles their home. During that time, they fronted a band called The Ruby Trees. As The Ruby Trees, the couple performed in a slew of local LA clubs, which includes appearances at Ronnie Mack’s Barn Dance at The World-Famous Palomino Club. During this time, they also contributed a song to A Town South of Bakersfield, Volume 3 (Restless). They joined industry veterans Dale Watson, The Hellecasters and Harry Dean Stanton on the release.
Life in LA wasn’t all good news for the couple, however. During their stay in California, Maria Francis’s battle with lupus proved to be a steep hill to climb. They faced adversity in their move to Portland, Oregon, too, when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Still, the couple persisted. In the end, Francis overcame the odds and is now cancer-free!
With nothing but gratitude after overcoming these trials, Francis and Overbo found themselves adopted by a likeminded tribe of Portland musicians who helped them get back into the art of music-making all over again. It was then that Silver Lake 66 was born. Together with those collaborators, they contributed to jam sessions and other performances at a honky-tonk at the edge of the city called The Barn. It was then that the duo really found their sound with their newfound duet project.
The rest of Silver Lake 66’s story so far is of positive change, pushing forward and doing what they do best together. In August of 2016, the super duo released their debut LP, Let go or be dragged. It features a collection of songs drawn from personal experiences of travel, love, loss and adversity. A group of local veteran musicians from the Portland Americana community round out the vocally driven, warm, tremolo-laden sound.
The album has been a resounding success with Americana radio, receiving airplay from over 55 stations throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. The album hit #19 on the Roots Music Report’s album chart, and the song “San Francisco Angel” reached #18 on its singles chart.
The Huffington Post’s Randy Radic describes Silver Lake 66’s music as “elegant simplicity” and “the real McCoy.” For Folk’s Sake’s Jonathan Frahm calls the duo “the real deal” and highlights their “sweet harmonies that mesh the entirety of their sound together.”
Released in April of 2019, their most recent album, Ragged Heart, is a continuation of their journey as a couple, as individuals, and as a like-minded musical duo. With the addition of strings and horns, Ragged Heart builds off their previous works and centers around a message of resiliency and hope.
Americana Highways’ Melissa Clarke says, "The striking characteristic of Ragged Heart is the energy of the instrumental interplay, with a throwback early ’70s style and tones to match . . . The band’s energy is irresistible, and the vocal harmonies are divine.”
Glide Magazine has noted that Ragged Heart is “a glorious roundabout of Americana mixed with splices of hearty rockabilly and chugging sweet seductive melodies.” They go on to say, “Silver Lake 66 transports a dignified sound that evokes the gratifying sounds of Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, with a sly inkling for today’s roots music ears.”
Meanwhile, Rawckus Magazine’s Randy Radic ruminates over Ragged Heart’s “marvelous melodies and delicious vocals”, and The Flame Still Burns’ Joe McSpadden notes, “Country music this good probably can’t get made in Nashville."
Silver Lake 66 are one inspiring, electrifying duo to keep your eye on. Make sure to catch them on tour when they hit your city in support of their new album, Ragged Heart!