Weekend LISTening: Thanksgiving Family Jams : World Cafe For your long holiday weekend, enjoy a playlist of 10 musical families you might not mind talking tofurkey with.
NPR logo Weekend LISTening: Thanksgiving Family Jams

Weekend LISTening: Thanksgiving Family Jams

Clockwise from upper left: Arcade Fire by Guy Aroch, Tegan And Sara, Shovels & Rope by Leslie Ryann Mckellar, HAIM by Tom Beard Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

Clockwise from upper left: Arcade Fire by Guy Aroch, Tegan And Sara, Shovels & Rope by Leslie Ryann Mckellar, HAIM by Tom Beard

Courtesy of the artists

If you're like many Americans, chances are your Thanksgiving plans involve a healthy dose of family time. Maybe you're thankful to sit around the table with relatives you love, or maybe you'll be thankful when the holiday is over and they leave. Either way, here are 10 musical families you might not mind talking tofurkey with.

Bonus: Scroll to the bottom (or just click here) for a complete Spotify playlist featuring family bands. It's guaranteed to get you through that road trip to your in-laws' place in the suburbs, or just drown out any dinner-conversation-turned-political-debate.

Hear The Songs

  • Arcade Fire (The Butlers)

    Liza Rey Butler was a well-known jazz harpist before she was mom to Win and Will Butler, two founding members of Arcade Fire. Mama Butler happily harped on her sons' records Funeral and Neon Bible. And in doing so, she got to spend time with her daughter-in-law Régine Chassagne, Will's wife and co-lead singer. Watch her break down her Arcade Fire harp part from "Black Mirror" in this video, and forever be amazed by the hippest matriach in rock 'n' roll.

  • HAIM (The Haims)

    If you frequented local charity fairs on the West Coast in the mid-'90s, you may have had your artisanal socks knocked off by a cover band called Rockinhaim, made up of Este, Danielle and Alana Haim and their parents. Since then, the three sisters ditched their folks, truncated their band name and made a Grammy-nominated debut record that made them instant it-kids. But every once in a while, they invite Mom and Dad back up on stage — and the results are pure Rockinhaim magic.

  • Joseph (The Closners)

    When Natalie Closner was in the middle of her second solo house-show tour, she realized there was something missing from her road to stardom. Well, two things: her sisters Allison and Meegan. She invited them to give up their jobs at a grocery store and bakery, respectively, and form a band they call Joseph. When they're not touring the country or wowing audiences on The Tonight Show, they stay at their parents' place on a tree-lined street in Portland, Ore., where they have warm beds and their parents make them kale and eggs for breakfast.

  • The National (The Dessners and Devendorfs)

    Twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner are so in sync that they can stare at each others' hands and play complementary guitar parts. And they're not the only pair of siblings in The National; Scott and Bryan Devendorf make up as tight a rhythm section as it gets. How does lead singer Matt Berninger feel about being flanked by two sets of brothers? "It's not like I have a pair of Gallaghers on each side".

  • The New Pornographers (The Newman-Calders)

    OK, The New Pornographers aren't entirely a family band. But the group does contain the rare and wonderful "long-lost niece" phenomenon. Vocalist and keyboardist Kathryn Calder's mom was adopted as a baby. When Calder's mom traced her birth family, she discovered she was related to A.C. Newman, who founded The New Pornographers. If you feel confused, suffice it to say that the two glorious redheads singing back to back in this video are basically posing for a family reunion photo.

  • The Barr Brothers (The Barrs)

    When The Barr Brothers' Brad and Andrew Barr were kids growing up in Providence, R.I., they fought a lot — so much that their dad decided to take extreme measures to try and make them get along. He bought each of them a pair of boxing gloves and turned their basement into a ring. He figured that if the kids had a space to fight, when the boxing match was over, the bickering might be, too. After a few weeks, and a few bruises, the brothers decided it was better to get along. Now they travel the world together in a band.

  • Robert Randolph & The Family Band (The Randolphs)

    Robert Randolph was raised on sacred steel, an African-American gospel tradition that rocked the House of God church in his hometown of Orange, N.J. He recruited relatives Marcus, Lenesha and Ray Ray Randolph, and together they wound up touring with Eric Clapton in 2004 and playing the theme song before every Friday night Knicks game. They're the perfect crew to celebrate Thanksgiving with, and they'll prove it all over the Brooklyn Bowl Funksgivin' Jam this Friday, Nov. 25.

  • Shovels & Rope (The Hearst-Trents)

    When the husband-wife duo behind Shovels & Rope became parents last year, they welcomed their new daughter in true Americana style with a new lullaby called "Hush Little Rocker." She sounds poised to someday join the family business — which is either playing music or landscaping. (Although her parents, Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, love playing shows, they're just as happy cutting the grass with their ride-on lawnmower at home in Johns Island, S.C.)

  • Rae Sremmurd (The Browns)

    Khalif "Swae Lee" Brown and Aaquil "Slim Jxmmi" Brown of Rae Sremmurd moved around a lot when they were kids. Their mom was in the Army, they didn't know their dad and they left their stepfather's home in favor of living in an abandoned house in Tupelo, Miss. Through it all, they leaned on each other, made music together and rode the independent and über-chill Sremm Life all the way to the top of Billboard's Hot 100.

  • Tegan and Sara (The Quins)

    Some folks have trouble making it from green beans to turkey to pumpkin pie with their siblings — and then there are the Quins. For more than two decades, the twin sisters have played as Tegan and Sara. They've become LGBTQ icons and advocates together, been nominated for an Oscar together and toured the world together many times over. Sara says she wrote one of their newer songs, "100x," about her relationship with Tegan — which suggests their relationship is more complex, fraught, meaningful and beautiful than most of us can imagine.


For the road...