We first discovered The Secret Sisters at our hometown music festival, Forecastle, many years ago. We ventured onto the grass by the Bourbon Lodge (yes, that’s a thing we have in Kentucky — a lodge just for bourbon) during a lull in our schedules, and lucky for us, we happened to witness Laura and Lydia Rogers do their thing. They’ve featured on many a Zelda & Scout playlist (most recently our Southern Gothic-themed October playlist). We loved their debut album and their sophomore effort. We love their style and their wit. We love them. Here are five reasons why.
1. Rich Musical Heritage: The Secret Sisters grew up just outside historic Muscle Shoals, Alabama. In the 1960s, Muscle Shoals was home to two studios — FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio — that hosted some of the most famous names in music: Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, and Bob Dylan, just to name a few. Spending their formative years in the shadow of some of the most important music of the 20th century, it’s only right that the sisters’ sound pays homage to that history.
2. Old School Southern Sound, with a Modern Twist: The Secret Sisters’ self-titled 2010 first album puts a modern lady twist on a lot of traditional country classics, from old ballads like “Why Baby Why” and “Do You Love an Apple” to jazz standards like Frank Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid.” The classics are deftly mixed in with a couple original songs (“Tennessee Me” and “Waste the Day”). They established their sound by paying tribute to the genre’s history before venturing into more songwriting on their sophomore album. And on Put Your Needle Down, their 2014 follow-up record, they brought the same old school sound, but with their own twist, on originals like the deliciously dark “Iuka” and the cheeky “Good Luck, Good Night, Goodbye.”
3. Sisterly Love: We love nothing more than a family affair when it comes to music. Zelda’s own family is all about music bringing the family together, after all. And in a world that often pits women against each other, even sisters, we’re happy to see two ladies embracing their love for each other and creating as a team.
4. Enviously Cool Vintage Style: Okay, this is seriously one of our favorite things about The Secret Sisters: They’ve brought their vintage sound over into their wardrobe. From state fairs to Letterman, they always look like they walked out of an early episode of Mad Men, or are doing an exceptional job channeling our favorite Marvel heroine, Peggy Carter, with their dresses and hair in victory rolls and pin curls. Most of all, they are big proponents of body positivity, which is nice to see from anyone in the entertainment industry.
5. Humor: Perhaps not evidenced simply through their music, Laura and Lydia are funny. Their live shows are full of jokes and stories that make us downright guffaw. Their show at City Winery remains one of our favorites that we’ve seen in the city in these last three years, a perfect mix of beautiful tunes and down-to-earth banter, such as you only find between sisters.
The Rogers ladies are between labels at the moment (a tragedy, in our opinion). So until they drop another album, you can feast your ears on their self-titled debut and their amazing second album, Put Your Needle Down.