published Friday, June 10th, 2011

The secret is out, these sisters can sing

By Barry Courter

Staff Writer

Why not let T Bone Burnett himself describe The Secret Sisters, the singing duo that will perform at Riverbend tonight.

“I have been making music for over 40 years, and The Secret Sisters album is as close to pure as it gets,” he is quoted as saying in the sisters’ bio on their website.

“Listening to The Secret Sisters sing, you hear in their voices a sound that is timeless and of the moment. You hear the history of rural American music from the 1920s and a reverence for every musical genre this country has produced. Popular music requires the absolute honesty of The Secret Sisters, and I’m thrilled to be involved in presenting them to the world.”

Burnett may be biased since he was executive producer of the recording debut of sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers, but others agree.

Rolling Stone’s critic wrote: “They make you believe, for three minutes or so, the lie that music was purer and better way back when.”

Earlier this week, the sisters talked about the whirlwind ride they’ve been on since Laura first auditioned for Dave Cobb. Lydia could not make it, but by the time Laura had driven back to Muscle Shoals from Nashville, label reps had called to request a return visit. This time Lydia made the trip.

Within a couple of weeks, they had chosen some cover songs (they didn’t have time to write their own) to record with Burnett in Los Angeles. While the record was completed quickly, the girls said it captured what they wanted to do.

“It’s been crazy,” Lydia said.

Laura added, “It’s really magical. We knew how we wanted it to sound and the recording techniques we wanted to use. The whole recording process was wonderful. Before that happened though, we were just two sisters singing together in church and at family reunions.

“I tell people The Secrets Sisters was formed on that record. We were not groomed for this career or this type of lifestyle. It was a hobby.”

Now it’s a full-time gig. In addition to touring, they are writing songs in preparation for recording their second CD this winter.

“It will be challenging,” Laura said, “but a good challenge. We’ve learned so much about ourselves and from others that we have been so lucky to meet and play with.

“We hope to show people that we are not a cover band, so we are writing a lot.”

Contact Barry Courter at or at 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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