Feeling like feeling groovy?
Sugar Lime Blue, a Lebanon-based quintet with the husband-wife team of Dave and Ashley Beth as its nucleus, might just trip you back to the 1970s with their ultra-cool retro vibes, a musical melting pot that oozes a unique blend of country, rock, blues and jazz.
"It's a throwback feel that we have," says Ashley as she attempts to define their sound, not an easy task.
"It's everything from Johnny Cash to Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks. It's the attitude of our music, a certain confidence we have when we perform," said Dave, the band's lead guitarist.
Sugar Lime Blue, also comprised of bass player and vocalist Russ Dean, drummer Eric Campbell and steel guitar player John Simpson, plays a free, all-ages show at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lulu's Coffee House in Watertown.
"We love to play at Lulu's. It's kind of our hometown gig," gushed Ashley. "We'll do a mixture of cover songs and original tunes."
Expect such standards as Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody To Love" and Three Dog Night's "Never Been to Spain" during the 90-minute show.
But also expect to be pleasantly surprised by a group that's practically impossible to label, as they embrace sounds so diverse that you might hear shades of such artists as Little Feat, Sheryl Crow, Al Green, The Grateful Dead and Otis Redding.
"Our music, you can't really put a name on it or a genre. It's really more of a feeling we express," said Ashley.
"We make honest music. We're not trying to market for just one particular audience," Dave adds.
Recording their groove
The band's second album, "Move That Earth," was released on CD in July, but 300 copies on vinyl reached their eager hands two weeks ago. The duo, who co-wrote the title track, says it was inspired by the AMC western series, "Hell on Wheels."
"Not so much the show as the time," notes Dave, "The idea that men can move earth and create a country. Ideals that America can still be great."
"And people did it before machines," chimes in Ashley. "Our songs are different but are inspired by our experiences, dreams, TV, books, everything. A lot of times we're referred to as a throwback band because of our sound. And this album was meant to be listened to on vinyl. So you can sit back and listen the way it's meant to be heard."
The band never intended to produce a vinyl version, but their fan base demanded it.
"We said, 'No, that's too expensive.' They said, 'You do a Kickstarter, we'll pay for it. We'll fund it.' The fans kept their word," Ashley reports as about 60 contributors covered about 90 percent of the cost of production.
Musical and relationship roots
Dave, who hails from Eliot, Maine, and Ashley, a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, who have been married for 15 years, met in 1999 at the Guitar Center in Arlington, Texas.
"I was working there and a mutual friend introduced us. I was in a cover band at the time. I didn't know if she could sing or not but I was sure interested in being in a band with her," Dave recollected with a grin.
"I was raised in the Church of Christ where we sang all a capella. It took me a while to get used to singing with instruments," said Ashley, who had sung in a middle-school choir.
"Pretty much this guy drug me on to the stage and taught me how to like my own voice and make it come out on stage. At first I was very, very mousey," she confessed of her stage shyness.
Dave began playing guitar in high school after he picked up his younger brother's electric guitar.
At first he took lessons and then taught himself, often falling asleep at night with his guitar in his arms. He performed in cover bands and wrote a lot of bad songs, and then he met Ashley.
"When we started writing together, I was satisfied enough to stop throwing the songs away," he said.
"We got to be each other's sounding board and can toss out pieces without throwing the song away," Ashley said of their co-writing.
The couple and their daughter moved to Wilson County in 2004, settling near family members in Mt. Juliet and then relocated to Lebanon three years ago after they found a 100-year-old farmhouse, green bungalow-crafts style, on the east side of town.
By the way, daughter Victoria, a senior at Lebanon High School, has the female lead in the school play, "Curtain Going Up!," which runs Nov. 13-14.
"This whole area is a great place to live, and as a musician a great place to leave from. We also meet musicians here. The business is here (the Nashville area), and it's a day-trip from everywhere," said Ashley as the band will play some 80 to 90 gigs by the end of this year in venues in Ohio, Alabama and Virginia.
Day jobs involve hands in dirt
The pair own and operate God's Green Earth, a landscaping and lawn-care business.
Ashley tends to the bookkeeping and weed-patrol duties. Dave does mowing, weed eating, mulching, hedge trimming, seeding and installs shrubs.
"We really like to garden. We have a mini-farm," said Dave, reporting they've planted a winter crop of garlic, kale, broccoli, spinach and other mixed greens.
"We just pulled potatoes out of the ground. We got a 5-gallon bucket full. That was so exciting," Ashley said.
Being marketed by Mike Borchetta Promotions and Alan Young Promotions, Dave says their short-range goal is to push their new album as far as they can. Long-range he hopes to "make another album and another and let the music be self-sustaining."
The co-leaders of Sugar Lime Blue also do a dash or self-promotion every first day of the week with what they call their Sunday shout-out.
"We dedicate a song to a Facebook fan every Sunday. We tape it here at home, and you can see it on Facebook. We have about 115 videos on there now," said Dave, of their sonic treat that's truly groovy.
Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org