Thursday, May 15, 2014


Dylan-approved, T Bone Burnett produced, real sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers have been gracing various Americana projects (usually involving Burnett).  The duo have a special talent for old-fashioned vocals in close harmony, and look like Depression-era trouble makers.  Retro roots is getting pretty crowded these days though, and the Sisters don't have a problem updating.  The subject matter and singing style is more 30's to 50's, but the ace Burnett band doesn't get stuck in the past.  Marc Ribot is on hand for jazz riffs played through the eccentric filter, while drummer Jay Bellerose is busy and woody and loud, no processing but defiantly modern.

The Sisters write much of their own material, along with top pros, including Cape Breton's Gordie Sampson, country singer, Brandi Carlile, and notably one B. Dylan, contributing new lyrics to his funky Tin Pan Alley number Dirty Lie.  It's a beauty, a bluesy piece that Tom Waits might have done as well.  The number Iuka is a messy murder ballad, in an updated, Ode To Billy Joe style, and aside from the car mentioned, could be from 1850 or 1950 or now.  The cover of P.J. Harvey's The Pocket Knife works too, retaining a bit of her edge and power, but its folk side  more prominent. 

So, it's got lots of top-notch material and expert playing.  But the vocals are the real difference, as near to the Everly Sisters as we're going to hear.  When the close harmonies begin on Let There Be Lonely, you'll get shivers, and on Black and Blue, you'll probably feel the same way you do when you hear Cathy's Clown.  Beauty.

No comments:

Post a Comment