Opposite Ends of the Sister Act Spectrum

There’s obviously a lot of image at work in the way these girls are presented:

But the same could be said of these girls, right?

Because young women in their early 20s don’t make themselves up like 1950s housewives and cite the Everly Brothers as a primary influence without deciding on that manner of self-presentation. Compared to The McClymonts, The Secret Sisters seem to have chosen a style that gives them greater claim to that nebulous concept of authenticity – because they look and sound more ‘rooted’ in the historical country tradition predating SHeDAISY – but is what they’re doing actually any less of a construction?

If anything, it seems more intuitive that ‘real’ women of this generation would end up looking and sounding like The McClymonts, because that’s the style that’s influencing people today. The Secret Sisters are willfully anachronistic… which, don’t get me wrong, I love. I’m just not sure it’s the same as being perfectly authentic.

A little background on both acts:

The McClymonts are trying to break into the mainstream American country scene after a successful run in Australia. Their album Chaos and Bright Lights, which has already gone gold in the band’s native country, will become available in the US next Tuesday, August 17. Find their website here.

The Secret Sisters – whose press releases tout the support of indie credibility makers T Bone Burnett and Jack White – are getting buzz as a traditional country/folk act, with a very favorable write-up from Chet Flippo in one of last month’s Nashville Skyline columns. Their full-length debut is expected on October 5. You can hear a few enticing song samples on their new website.

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  1. Rick says

    I really like both of these sister acts even though their music is vastly different. I don’t care for Jack White’s production approach on the covers of “Big River” and “Wabash Cannonball” by the Secret Sisters, but then again I feel that way about almost everything Jack White has been involved with.

    My only complaint about the McClymont Sisters is I wish they would let each sister perform solo songs that suit their personalities without the “group think” approach now and then. Sam recorded a CD single a few years back titled “Cookin’ In My Kitchen” which was superior to most of the songs the gals have recorded as a trio. The oldest sister Brooke actually sought a solo pop career initially but when that failed she fell back in with her sisters after the youngest sister Mollie finally graduated from high school. They just need to be careful to differentiate their song styles enough to not fall into the “everything sounds too much alike” rut their Aussie contemporaries “The Sunny Cowgirls” have fallen into.

    The Secret Sisters are neo-traditionalists that seem to target a 30’s to the 50’s sound, and that’s fine by me! If they can tap into the “O Brother Where Art Thou” audience that would be great, but otherwise I expect them to be just another hardly known Americana act selling a few CDs at their concerts. T Bone needs to get these gals on the soundtrack of a movie that does well in the theaters! This older style of music doesn’t have much of a following these days, except maybe among country and Americana music bloggers who are familiar with the old stuff and still appreciate its virtues.

    If these gals do an LA show and T. Bone is there, I’ll have to remember to give him a copy of the album I have of The Miller Sisters songs from the Sun Label circa 1956. Considering how much he likes The Secret Sisters, that album should blow his mind! (lol)

  2. says

    The Secret Sisters definitely have talent, but it’s a given that country radio will never embrace an act with that kind of image.

    I enjoyed that McClymont’s song, even though the video looked like a JC Penny commercial (especially in the still that you see before you click “Play” – You see a stylishly-dressed young woman with the word “Save” behind her)


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