Lydia and Laura Rogers are recognizable as sisters the minute they open their mouths. They float, twist and trade harmonies in ways only siblings can. Hailing from small-town Alabama, the pair started practicing parts as girls in church, and two decades later, their music can be hymn-like: plain but powerful, heartsick and hopeful.
They also throw back to secular songs: those of the Everly Brothers, bluegrass creator Bill Monroe and country godfather Hank Williams. In fact, all but two songs on The Secret Sisters' first (self-titled) album were covers of traditionals or traditional country songs. On their second album, Put Your Needle Down, the Rogers sisters wrote more songs themselves and brought a tinge of darkness, especially in standout tracks like "Bad Habit" and "Iuka."
Now chipping away at their third album, the sisters are still mining their Alabama roots. In this performance, you'll hear an unreleased river ballad ("Tennessee River Runs Low"), some old-fashioned loneliness ("You've Got It Wrong") and one of the few minor hymns in the church songbook ("Flee As a Bird").
Put Your Needle Down is available now (iTunes) (Amazon).
- "Tennessee River Runs Low"
- "You've Got It Wrong"
- "Flee As A Bird"
Producers: Nick Michael, Niki Walker; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Claire Hannah Collins; Production Assistant: Sophie Kemp; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.
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