The Haden Triplets On New Album 'The Family Songbook,' Charlie Haden The daughters of accomplished upright bassist Charlie Haden have reached back even further for inspiration on their latest album, drawing influence from the country roots of their grandfather.
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On Their Latest Album, The Haden Triplets Sing 'The Family Songbook'

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On Their Latest Album, The Haden Triplets Sing 'The Family Songbook'

On Their Latest Album, The Haden Triplets Sing 'The Family Songbook'

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


The Haden Triplets are...

PETRA HADEN: (Singing) Petra.

RACHEL HADEN: (Singing) Rachel.

TANYA HADEN: (Singing) Tanya.

SIMON: How do I follow that? They're the daughters, of course, of the legendary late jazz bass player Charlie Haden, but their musical lineage goes back to their grandfather Carl E. Haden. A number of newly discovered songs by the eldest Haden are featured on the triplets' latest collection. It's called "The Family Songbook."


THE HADEN TRIPLETS: (Singing) I have oft times sat and wondered and dreamed of days gone by, of the vows you've held so true, dear. Who will you love if I should die?

SIMON: And, obviously, Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden join us now from NPR West. Thanks so much for being with us.

T HADEN: Thank you.

R HADEN: Thanks for having us.

SIMON: It's going to be difficult to keep track of all three of your beautiful voices. We'll do what we can. One of the Hadens, tell us about your grandfather and his place in country music history.

P HADEN: He and his family had the radio show called "The Haden Family." They started in Shenandoah, Iowa. And when our dad was 4, they moved to Springfield, Mo., the station KWTO - keep watching the Ozarks.

SIMON: And, Rachel Haden, your father sang with your grandfather, right?

R HADEN: He started singing when he was 2. He started singing harmony. One of the first songs he sang on the radio was "Row Us Over The Tide." And that's when he started yodeling. And they called him Yodeling Cowboy Charlie. And it's really cute to hear him sing because he forgets the words. And I kind of relate to that because I always forget words. (Singing) Row (vocalizing).

SIMON: Your grandfather was friends with - I'll refer to them as the other first family of country music - the Carter Family.


SIMON: Let's listen to a song that you do on this album called "Wildwood Flower."


THE HADEN TRIPLETS: (Singing) Oh, I'll twine with my mingles and waving black hair, with the roses so red and the lilies so fair and the myrtle so bright with the emerald hue, the pale emanita and eyes look like blue (ph).

SIMON: That's a beautiful song. And Carter Family, of course, recorded it. What reaches you about a country song - the theme, the harmonies, the story?

P HADEN: All of that for me. This is Petra talking. I...

R HADEN: No, this is Petra talking.


T HADEN: No, this is Petra talking.

SIMON: Come on. No games with us. I'll bet you guys play games, but no.


THE HADEN TRIPLETS: (Singing) Ozark moon, I'm trusting in your tender light.

SIMON: Do you arrange the harmonies? Do you divvy them up? Do you just jump in there?

T HADEN: We usually just naturally gravitate towards a harmony, but we'll jump around in a song. And it - with different harmonies - like, on the chorus, Petra will sing the high part, and I'll sing the middle, and Rachel will sing the low. And for some reason, on a verse, we'll kind of, you know, reverse parts not really thinking about it. So when we have to go back to the songs - and we'll forget, like, who sang what? Wait; is that - and we'll listen to the recording. Let's see. And we can't differentiate our voices sometimes. And I have to listen, like, is that you, or is that me?


THE HADEN TRIPLETS: (Singing) Beneath your silvery beams.


THE HADEN TRIPLETS: (Singing) I am a poor wayfaring stranger, a-wandering through this world of woe (ph).

SIMON: Are there other Hadens in the musical pipeline?

T HADEN: Oh, well, I have two kids and - two boys, except they gravitate more towards the music kids listen to these days.

SIMON: Yeah.

T HADEN: Whenever I play them our music, they think it's a little bit boring.

SIMON: (Laughter).

T HADEN: And I try to explain to them...

SIMON: Yeah.

T HADEN: ...If it weren't for this music and that music, you wouldn't have what you're listening to today. They don't want to hear any of it. But they do - they've listened to some stuff we're - I'll sing - be singing a song, and then my younger one will start singing it. And I'll say, will you remind me how that goes?


T HADEN: And - yeah. Kids these days.

SIMON: Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden - their new album, "The Family Songbook" - thank you so much for speaking with us.

R HADEN: Thank you.

T HADEN: Thanks for having us.

P HADEN: Thank you.


THE HADEN TRIPLETS: (Singing) I know dark clouds will gather around me.

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