Greetings! CD release parties and/or band introductory gatherings can often be strange affairs but Universal Motown Records hosted a brilliant event at one of Mpls’ best venues. The Dakota Club and Restaurant at 1010 Nicollet Mall, downtown, was the perfect setting to introduce one of the freshest and purest acts to come along in a long time. As they say, a great time was had by all.
Laura and Lydia Rogers are the Secret Sisters who will not be a secret much longer. When their self-titled CD hits the stands on Oct. 5, everyone will find out about them. Hailing from Muscle Shoals, AL, they’ve called on their deep musical and spiritual roots to present one of the freshest sounding discs in ages. With T. Bone Burnette, one of the industries’ best, as executive producer and Dave Cobb as producer, these talented young women will make an indelible impression on everyone.
Only professional since last Oct., the ladies were understandably nervous-till they started singing. It’s an unofficial and unsubstantiated theory that only siblings can generate harmonies this pure. Reference the Wilson Brothers (of the Beach Boys) or the Everly Brothers. These two strengthen the argument and take it a step further. Their musical inspirations (Johnny Cash, Hank Williams to name two) are the basis for their take on classic country in two-part harmony that is stunningly beautiful. Their rendition of Cash’s “Ring of Fire”, for one example, came alive with a new emotional impact as their voices danced around the tightly knit band backing them. Cash himself must be smiling in heaven as that sound lingers in the ears of those in attendance. Their only vinyl, a 7″ on Third Man Records, is also a Johnny Cash tune, called “Big River”. That, like everything they touched onstage was treated with the same reverence.
Laura, the primary singer, took time to weave homespun tales between songs that helped to include the captivated audience in their lives. Both ladies are genuinely sincere in their approach to the music and to each other, sharing a microphone like the good old days of the Grand Old Opry. It is the fondest hope that they will continue that technique as they become more popular. Both voices are distinctive enough to hear the difference but blend so perfectly that seperate mikes are unnecessary. They will return this fall after the disc is released to perform a full set, an event that will be more than welcome here and wherever they go.
The people at Universal Motown throw a wonderfully smooth presentation that reveals a group of people who care about the human side of the music as well as the business side. Choosing the Dakota was a stroke of genius. Anyone who’s heard live music there before knows how acoustically sound the venue is. Anyone who’s never been there is encouraged to change that status. It’s intimate, friendly and well-managed, offereing a slightly-raised stage that keeps the musicians close to the audience which enhances the enjoyment of the event.
Stay tuned till early Oct. when the disc is in the stores. The Secret Sisters don’t emulate anyone. Their sound is their own and impossible to resist…as are their personalities.