Sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire make up two thirds of the Dixie Chicks, the best selling all female group of all time. Ann and Nancy Wilson, the sisters of Heart, have been cranking out soaring '80s melodies for four decades running. Johanna and Klara Söderberg are young Swedish sisters whose spine-chilling vocal harmonies in their band First Aid Kit are taking the modern indie world by storm. So sisters Laurie and Katelyn Shook are in good musical company, historically speaking.
For the last six years the Shook Twins have been pursuing their own musical careers with great success, going from playing the Podunk-hoedowns of Sandpoint, Idaho, to touring the country bringing its brand of sibling-fueled psychedelic-folk to all the corners of the U.S.
Between the novelty of identical blonde twins and their irreverent power duo vocals that twist together like a pair of cobras in a snake charmer's trance, it's easy to see how the Shooks gained popularity.
One-half of the pair interviewed with the Source fresh off a six-week tour in a renovated school bus that Katelyn explained better resembles a log cabin, and the girl's Idaho upbringing, more than the brown vinyl seats of childhood memory. The girls were on a brief break, "taking care of hella business," and preparing for the release of the group's third full-length studio album.
What We Do, which comes out April 8, is more layered than previous Shook Twins recordings and features a six-piece band and severely increased production value. The band recorded the album at Bear Creek Studio, a converted farm in Woodenville, Wash. Established in 1977 (that's six years before the sisters were born), the studio still appears barn-like from the outside and has been the birthplace of music from Brandi Carlile, the Foo Fighters, Modest Mouse and Lionel Richie.
"That place has been around forever. You can feel the history and inspiration," said Katelyn.
More recently, the studio recorded the hit self-titled Lumineers record, featuring the hit single "Ho Hey," a C major shout-along clap-along darling in a similar folky vein to the Shook Twins' newest release.
The girls' increased breadth and experience on What We Do is clear. The album is clean and precise. The songs are balanced, knowing when to layer on detailed instrumentals and when to strip back to its two-piece roots. At the center of it all are the girl's perfected vocal harmonies.
"It's more mature," explained Katelyn. "Lyric-wise and composition-wise."
A turn to history and maturity has been a theme for the sisters since their move from the mountain town of Sandpoint to Portland.
"Our taste in music has totally broadened. Moving to the city and being around all different kinds of music and seeing the beauty in all of it," said Katelyn. "I used to be way against mainstream pop music. Now, I can see the charm."
The Shook Twins
Sat., April 12
Springfest Mainstage at the corner of Mt. Washington Dr. & Northwest Crossing Dr.