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Through My Sister's Eyes: Allison And Katie Crutchfield On Each Other's Music

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Through My Sister's Eyes: Allison And Katie Crutchfield On Each Other's Music

Through My Sister's Eyes: Allison And Katie Crutchfield On Each Other's Music

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So the musicians Allison and Katie Crutchfield are sisters - twins, actually. And, like many twins, they were inseparable growing up. They have played in bands together since they were girls, like this one, P.S. Eliot.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SORE SUBJECT")

KATIE CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) But don't go yet, old lipstick, old cassettes - clutter the carpet where my futile head rests. And I'd...

GREENE: In 2011, Allison and Katie decided to go their separate ways. Earlier this year, Allison Crutchfield released her first solo album, and Katie Crutchfield just released her new collection. She records under the name Waxahatchee. Oddly, these are both breakup albums. And we thought we would do something a little bit different here. We thought we would ask each sister to play music critic and talk about the other's new music. The burning question first, though - why did they break up the band in the first place?

ALLISON CRUTCHFIELD: This is Allison. It's funny to think about us stopping playing music together being, like, any kind of monumental moment in our lives because it just felt really natural at the time.

K. CRUTCHFIELD: This is Katie. Really what made us stop playing music together in that way was Allison's desire to become a songwriter.

A. CRUTCHFIELD: I think we were in D.C., actually, when we - we were playing a show at, like, an Ethiopian restaurant on a tour that we did. And we kind of just looked at each other while the other bands were playing and just sort of knew. We were like, oh, let's just not do this anymore.

K. CRUTCHFIELD: And of course, I was sad because I love playing music with her more than anything. But I think that she really needed that autonomy.

A. CRUTCHFIELD: Every couple of years, no matter what's going on for us, no matter what band we're in, what city we're living in, we'll have a moment where we really focus on the importance of our relationship and the ability that we have as sisters to build each other up.

(SOUNDBITE OF ALLISON CRUTCHFIELD SONG, "DEAN'S ROOM")

K. CRUTCHFIELD: This is Katie. My sister Allison's solo album that came out this year is "Tourist In This Town."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DEAN'S ROOM")

A. CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) There are no photographs of us. There is nothing left for us to discuss. You crawl around on your belly and ask for forgiveness all while maintaining your innocence.

K. CRUTCHFIELD: When I first heard the songs for "Tourist In This Town," I was pretty blown away by just the lyrics and the emotional honesty and also just the melody. I mean, she has such a knack for writing, like, the catchiest melodies, and that never stops impressing me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I DON'T EVER WANNA LEAVE CALIFORNIA")

A. CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) Darling, you're too mid-Atlantic. The bright red doors - you're firmly planted in the archway of your make-believe world.

K. CRUTCHFIELD: "I Don't Ever Wanna Leave California" is a really good example.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I DON'T EVER WANNA LEAVE CALIFORNIA")

A. CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) We're pretty far away from Philadelphia, and that's fine 'cause I'm really starting to hate you. And, anyways, I am looking to move. I keep confusing love and nostalgia. I don't ever want to leave California.

K. CRUTCHFIELD: Just that melody is so good and it just matches the lyrics so well. There's something so triumphant. And it just - it's almost like a kiss-off or something - the kind of song that - when someone wrongs you, the things that you wish that you had said in that moment I feel like Allison really says with that song. And it's powerful.

(SOUNDBITE OF ALLISON CRUTCHFIELD SONG, "I DON'T EVER WANNA LEAVE CALIFORNIA")

K. CRUTCHFIELD: Allison wrote and recorded "Tourist In This Town," and it's, like, the day she finished was when I started writing my record.

(SOUNDBITE OF WAXAHATCHEE SONG, "NEVER BEEN WRONG")

A. CRUTCHFIELD: This is Allison. Katie's new album as Waxahatchee is called "Out In The Storm." They are like dueling breakup records.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NEVER BEEN WRONG")

K. CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) I spent all my time learning how to defeat you at your own game. It's embarrassing.

A. CRUTCHFIELD: I think something that we both struggle with - but I would argue that Katie maybe struggles with it a little bit more - is admitting vulnerability or weakness. If something is wrong, Katie is the one still who can always handle it. That comes across in her music, but I was really excited that she was able to just, like, be a mess for a - even for a moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF WAXAHATCHEE SONG, "SPARKS FLY")

A. CRUTCHFIELD: Specifically the song "Sparks Fly." It's my favorite song on the record.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPARKS FLY")

K. CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) I take it back. I was never alone. My censored thoughts mild and monotone.

A. CRUTCHFIELD: The first time I heard it I cried because, you know, she talks about just really kind of hitting bottom but then, like, not letting that ruin you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPARKS FLY")

K. CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) My pride clenched tight in my shaky hand. So I let go and buried my head in the sand. Or I'll go back...

This is Katie. And on the song, there's a line.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPARKS FLY")

K. CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) And I see myself through my sister's eyes.

And I see myself through my sister's eyes. I'm a live wire.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPARKS FLY")

K. CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) Electrified. Sparks fly.

And that line - it's about a night that Allison and I spent together in Berlin a few years ago.

A. CRUTCHFIELD: We just had, like, a good, old-fashioned, wild Berlin night on the town.

K. CRUTCHFIELD: And it was late, and we were having so much fun. And we were, like, laughing and telling stories.

A. CRUTCHFIELD: She was in a relationship that was constricting on so many levels. And this was just a moment where it was just the two of us. It was this very, like, kind of - I don't want to say primal - but this very, like, elemental moment.

K. CRUTCHFIELD: I feel like in relationships, oftentimes, when things are unhealthy or co-dependent, you see yourself from the perspective of the other person. And, often, that's not a person that you want to be. And I had been for so long seeing myself through the eyes of my former partner and trying to get away from that person. And in the moment with Allison, I feel like I saw myself from her perspective. And I felt so good.

A. CRUTCHFIELD: It reminds me of when we were in high school, and we didn't have really any other friends. And every day, we would just come home and play music together. And that was all we had, and that's all we wanted to have. And every now and then, when everything else is falling apart, we just focus on that. And it makes us both feel, like, incredibly powerful. And we hadn't had that in a really long time. That moment in Berlin - we had it again. Yeah, it was really special.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPARKS FLY")

K. CRUTCHFIELD: (Singing) I know you don't recognize me. But I'm a live wire finally.

GREENE: Those were the twin sisters Allison and Katie Crutchfield. They were talking about each other's new albums. Allison's is "Tourist In This Town," and Katie's band Waxahatchee just released "Out In The Storm."

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