Liz & Lincoln
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Liz & Lincoln

Dallas, Texas, United States | SELF

Dallas, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Americana Country

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Working on their debut CD with legendary singer/songwriter/producer Ray Wylie Hubbard. Tenative release March 2009.

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Liz and Lincoln

Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the obvious. In extreme cases, it takes an outlaw maverick sage of Zen wisdom who just knows a thing or two about funky and cool — and how to put the two together and make something truly, wickedly good.

Something like Liz and Lincoln.

OK, so Ray Wylie Hubbard — the aforementioned outlaw maverick — really can’t take all the credit for this particular union. Fate, love and, frankly, the fact that Liz and Lincoln’s respective dads were childhood friends all played a much bigger role in bringing these two kids together. They literally grew up together, with Liz playing the role of the little sister of Lincoln’s best friend. Since childhood, they were both little darlings of the small town Texas opry circuit — Liz singing old country standards and Lincoln winning contests as a prodigal fiddle whiz. By the time they were teenagers, Lincoln’s best friend’s little sister (three years his junior) became his girlfriend, and seven years later, they were married. By then, he’d laid his fiddle down in favor of electric guitar and was playing in psychedelic rock bands; Liz was singing country and blues in a handful of bands and touring with a soul revue. Off the road, they dutifully worked day jobs to pay the bills, wrote their own songs and offered each other moral and loving support on their mutual dreams for respective solo careers.

Then came the rare New Year’s Eve when neither of them had a gig, so they celebrated by catching a Hubbard show together in Grapevine, Texas. A friend of Liz’s who worked sound for the soul revue she sang with introduced them to the legendary songwriter at the end of the night, and Liz mustered the courage to ask Hubbard if she could send him a package of her demos and Lincoln’s demos. Hubbard, being a generally agreeable fellow, said yes. His own better half, wife Judy Hubbard, ended up accidentally throwing the package away (these things happen when you’re up to your ears in papers and mail, trying to maintain sanity while running a record label and managing your husband’s music career); but a second package was promptly sent and dutifully listened to. This time both Hubbards listened and very much liked what they heard. With one exception.

“Ray called a week later and said he wanted to get together and talk to us,” says Liz. “And one of the first things he said was, ‘Why aren’t you two together?” As in, playing together?

That’s why they call him the Wylie Lama.

“I think Lincoln and I have always had the same general tastes in music, but he’d taken those tastes to one type of thing and I had taken it to another,” Liz explains, albeit noting that their parents had previously suggested the same thing. But they just didn’t sell it right. “It was like, ‘Oh, it’d be so cute …’,” she laughs. “It always seemed like it’d be a Donny and Marie kind of deal — you know, not a cool thing to do. But when Ray Wylie Hubbard says, ‘You need to do this — it’s real Delaney & Bonnie, or Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons,’ that’s different. We were like, ‘Yeah! That’s what we were thinking, too!’”

And just like that, Liz and Lincoln — the couple turned duo — was born. For the first time in their lives and long relationship, they started rehearsing, writing and performing together, honing their harmonies and hybrid style of down-home country rock ’n’ soul at open mics around Texas and as back-up support for Hubbard before landing gigs of their own.

“We had never even tried writing together before that,” insists Lincoln. “And when Ray was first talking about us doing this together, I thought it would clash, but it never did. From the very beginning, it just worked. Maybe because our styles always grabbed from a lot of different aspects of music, when we started putting them together, it wasn’t that hard to do. It just worked out really well and turned into this whole new thing.”

Hubbard, duly pleased to see the fruits of his funky cool advice bloom before his eyes, ushered the duo into the studio to produce their debut album (currently in the home stretch). And wife Judy got in on the action, too, signing on as Liz and Lincoln’s manager. But as grateful as Liz And Lincoln are for all the Hubbard help, the Hubbards look to be pretty lucky here, too; it’s just not everyday that you come across one artist, let alone two, with this much raw — and real — potential. For however much Liz and Lincoln may indeed conjure just comparisons to the likes of Gram and Emmylou and Delanie & Bonnie (“God’s” — or rather, Eric Clapton’s — favorite roots-rock twosome of the early ’70s), the fact is that they bring a style and sound of their very own to a crowded Texas music scene that until now has failed to produce a songwriting duo this potent.

For proof, one need only sample the handful of songs from Liz and Lincoln’s forthcoming debut that are currently posted on their Web site and MySpace page. Even in demo form, the recordings