We couldn't help but have something of a flashback when listening to the new album Pray To Be Free (CD: December 4, Cooperative; Out Now Digitally) from Brooklyn singer and songwriter James Levy and The Blood Red Rose, his collaboration with Allison Pierce of sister pop/folk duo The Pierces. The heavy dramatic orchestration. The crooning male vocals. The duet with a tender female voice (in unison rather than harmony). This could have been the description of Hawk, the 2010 album that Belle and Sebastian's Isobel Campbell made with the deep-baritoned Soulsaver Mark Lanegan. Or for the fogies out there, set the wayback machine to the 60's for Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood. Beyond the reference points, Levy and Pierce work well together to create a noirish countryfied atmosphere ripe for some Blue Velvet-tinged moments as well as the more upbeat (at least tempo-wise) "Hung To Dry". Says the BBC of Pray To Be Free: "sublime... smouldering...imagine a slightly sozzled, mischievous Leonard Cohen on the front porch having discovered the joys of country music."