Porter & Dolly, George & Tammy, Loretta & Conway, Gram & Emmylou, Johnny & June, Joey & Rory, Keifer & Shawna Thompson, Mark & Jay O’Shea, Kacey Chambers & Shane Nicholson. These are all powerful country / Americana duets and you can add Megan & Shane (Bakersfield) as they set to release “Oh Hell” (as a double single with “Put Me Down” on July 14. The light-hearted romps follow up their critically-acclaimed LP Daughter of Country, which garnered them a nomination for “Best Roots Album” via No Depression.
The songs also derailed the married couple’s plans to open a fourth School of Rock location near their southwest Arizona home. When everything moved online, they found they were able to spend more time together.
“We’ve been married for nine years, together for 12,” says Megan, “and we realized that we hardly saw each other while working at the music school. We never had days off together. All of a sudden we had all this time. We’d have drinks in the backyard every afternoon. One day I just looked at Shane and said ‘I love this human.’ How much time have we been wasting?”
The two took a trip to Nashville and fell in love with the city and its people, especially Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge, a dive bar whose live stream performances they’d been watching throughout the quarantine, including a particularly memorable set by Margo Price.
“We were at Dee’s,” says Shane, “and a light switch just went off. I don’t fit in Arizona. I fit with these people. This is where we belong. When we got back, we put all our stuff into storage, moved out of our nice, bougie space and into a slum to save up to move to Nashville.”
The duo sold almost everything they owned, put what was left into a minivan, and hit the road towards Music City, USA. The trek across the country was a cathartic experience. They rode Arizona switchbacks at sundown. Wild horses watched them from the top of mesas, giving them permission to leave. They ate Texas BBQ. A cross the size of a skyscraper lit their way through a storm. They stopped in Memphis to revisit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music where they were married. They were practically chased out of what they call the “Murder Days Inn.” They eventually made it to their new Nashville home that they rented site-unseen, a charming 1920s house in the Old Hickory neighborhood that Megan describes as a “serial killer house with a creepy basement.”
Megan & Shane settled in and wasted no time getting back to work. They tapped Chris Mara (Jason Isbell, Old Crow Medicine Show, Molly Tuttle, Margo Price) of Welcome to 1979 studio in Nashville to produce and engineer their next set of singles. Mara is an analog phenom, and teaches classes on how to use his classic tape machines. Megan & Shane went into the studio and recorded live, straight to tape, with no overdubs with Third Man Records artist Lillie Mae (fiddle), Craig Smith (electric guitar), Brett Johnson (bass) who was a touring member of hip hop act Atmosphere, and Nick Larsen (drums).
Based on the song and what we learned here, we’re excited to share this fantastic new single with you and hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
What Megan & Shane had to say about their new song:
"We wrote 'Oh Hell' from the perspective of the working class. It’s hard to get ahead and sometimes you have to get creative, but at the end of the day if we are together we’ll be alright. Little did we know when we wrote it, we’d be selling all of our belongings to be able to make this move to Nashville."