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The Twangtown Paramours, 'Double Down on a Bad Thing'

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Published July 20, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.


The Twangtown Paramours, Double Down on a Bad Thing - COURTESY
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  • The Twangtown Paramours, Double Down on a Bad Thing

(Inside Edge Records, CD, digital)

Mike T. Lewis, lead guitarist, main songwriter and producer of the Twangtown Paramours, has a request. "We want people to have fun, to cheer up, to dance, and to start sporting a positive attitude, dammit," Lewis says on the band's website. How does one achieve this? By releasing a full-band, '60s-inspired blues and pop-rock record with great vocal harmonies, soulful tunes, and a slick production team and backing group.

The Twangtown Paramours are the husband-and-wife duo of Lewis (a former Waitsfield resident and race coach at Sugarbush Resort) and MaryBeth Zamer. They released their third album, Double Down on a Bad Thing, in February. It's an upbeat, let-your-hair-down, the-more-the-merrier, go-for-it kind of album that marks a shift away from the band's previous records, whose sound was softer Americana-folk with twangy acoustic guitars. The Nashville-based Paramours are making multiple Vermont stops on their Northeast tour this summer.

Double Down is polished and tight. I was trying to think why it reminds me of the musical version of Hairspray, and here is what I came up with: First, Zamer's vocal talent — the way she effortlessly and accurately hits every note with control and intention — recalls the way that lead actresses of musicals belt out numbers. Further affirmation of the album's show-tune-like vibe comes in Lewis' email to Seven Days: He notes that many of the players touring with Twangtown Paramours this summer "are taking time off from their Broadway pit gigs to play with us."

Another point of comparison is the solid variety of songs on the album. There are slower, bluesy love ballads; celebratory, energetic dance tunes; angry, brokenhearted songs; and feel-good, self-empowerment songs. (The album even has a bonus holiday tune, "My Gingerbread Man," and you'll want to include it on your next seasonal playlist.)

While it's hard to be too critical when the band nails every note they play, some tracks on the album have a rather predictable trajectory and formulaic sound. At times, it can feel almost too obvious which variety of song they're going for.

If the album were the soundtrack to a musical, then the single "Talk About Peace" would be sung when the cast comes out and takes a bow at the end of the show. It's a feel-good tune that sends a positive, harmony-seeking message. I can almost see Zamer singing, "There is no us, there is no them / black and white, red and blue / we're the same, me and you," while the audience sways and claps to the beat after a standing ovation.

The Twangtown Paramours successfully achieve what they set out to do with this album: to perform and produce high-quality music that will make listeners feel good.

Double Down on a Bad Thing is available on all major streaming platforms. The Twangtown Paramours play at various locations around the state in July and August; see the itinerary at thetwangtownparamours.com/shows.