It wasn't until 2011 that the Closner sisters (Natalie, Allison and Meegan) realized that perhaps, outside of the seasonal Christmas carols and backseat sing-alongs for the pleasure of annoying their brother, that they should be making music in a more professional regard.
"I was always the 'singer' of the family," explained Natalie. "And I was loud about it, so it wasn't until I got wise after 1.5 solo records and a couple of tours alone that I realized how much I needed them."
The sisters have a distinctly simplistic, but bass-heavy folk sound; the lows in instrumentation contrast beautifully with the ladies' cottony vocal lines.
Kicking off with the ominous and velvety "Cloudline," a song with unexpectedly spiking soprano harmonies followed up by the chugging, soulful "Wind," the band's first album, Native, Dreamer, Kin is impactful. A rare portrait of the band in a debut, it showcases the intense melding of sisterly voices, and a deep, "Walden"-like tie to nature. The second to last track, "Gold," leaves a tingling in every limb with sweetly sung anticipation.
The girls grew up in Estacada, Ore., frequently camping at Wallowa Lake in Joseph many summers, sometimes staying Grandpa Jo's (the band's namesake) ranch house. Their childhoods were musically filled with, "a healthy smattering of pop Christian music, Rascal Flatts, Ella Fitzgerald, Lauryn Hill, and Miles Davis," says Natalie followed by a sarcastic, "Makes a lot of sense...nope."
Joseph has a striking similarity to bands like Lucius, and The Shook Twins—who recently received national press for flatly turning down an offer from "American Idol" to audition separately for next season's competition. Natalie says she shares a similar sentiment to the views of the Shook Twins, with whom Joseph has played with in the past.
"I read that article and said a loud 'HELL YES,' in my heart," says Natalie. "What they were asking of the Shook Twins was to submit themselves to a STAGED DRAMA written by a TV producer. Pitting the sisters against each other and creating a narrative of conflict makes for good TV. But let's be real—the kind of awareness you gain from that kind of publicity isn't likely the kind that will get you lasting fans for your music. It's spectatorship in a modern day Roman coliseum."
Natalie says she prefers honesty in music to that type of fabricated drama.
"If we're telling our own story, it's more likely we'll encounter people who can relate. We'll meet co-conspirators in the crazy scheme to be honest and thrive in this life, which is what making and hearing music is for anyway—to not be alone."
8 pm. Thurs., Jan. 22
Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Dr.