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The Secret Sisters ()

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Revivalism is a tricky business. If you're re-creating a style from another era -- as opposed to merely putting a modern spin on it -- you've got to walk a fine line between paying homage to the past and bringing your own personality into play. Not many can manage it, but on their self-titled debut album, the Secret Sisters seem to have successfully brought classic country sounds into the present with a feeling of timelessness rather than dusty archive-spelunking. T-Bone Burnett was so impressed with young Muscle Shoals, AL sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers that after their label, Universal Republic, turned him on to their music, he created his own imprint for their album's release. It's easy to see why -- the Rogers sisters' heavenly harmonies on the traditional ballad "Do You Love an Apple" would have been a natural for the Burnett-produced soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? , if not for the fact that the girls were barely old enough to cross the street by themselves at the time of the film's release. But while they're capable of ethereal, heart-tugging turns like the aforementioned tune and Hank Williams' spiritual "House of Gold," these gals have got plenty of guts, too. Their more earthbound side comes out on the honky tonk tunes that dominate the album, like the old George Jones hit "Why Baby Why," Buck Owens' classic "My Heart Skips a Beat," and a more secular Hank hit, "Why Don't You Love Me." They even find room to expand their parameters outside of country music, delivering a gorgeous version of the 1967 Frank and Nancy Sinatra duet "Something Stupid" and coming off like a distaff Everly Brothers on "I've Got a Feeling," an early-'60s pop/rock obscurity by then-teen singer Nancy Baron. And while producer Dave Cobb's arrangements don't self-consciously re-create every element of the musical eras the sisters dig into, they don't add any superfluous modernizations either, keeping the sonic framework just as timeless-sounding as the Secret Sisters' style itself. ~ J. Allen, Rovi Hide synopsis

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