THURSDAY, SEPT. 21, 2017 | SOUTH ON MAIN [1304 Main St., Little Rock]
8:00 PM—The Oxford American is excited to welcome The Secret Sisters to Little Rock! This is the first show in our 2017-18 Archetypes & Troubadours Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsors Chris Harkins of Raymond James and J. Mark & Christy Davis.
Additional season partners include UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, Acura, Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Stacy Hamilton of Pulaski Heights Realty, Ben E. Keith Foods Mid-South Division, Arkansas Arts Council, ACANSA Arts Festival, Capital Hotel, Rosen Music Company, and Piano Kraft.
Tickets are available via Metrotix.com (or by calling 800-293-5949), and are $25 (General Admission), $32 (Reserved), and $34 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart). Full season ticket pricing and options are also available in a consolidated format, here.
There are two ways of handling a dangerous, raging river: you can surrender and let it carry you away, or you can swim against the flow. For The Secret Sisters, there was a point after the release of their last record when they could have chosen to do neither—instead, sinking to the bottom as the weight of the world washed away their dreams. They went from touring with Bob Dylan to losing their label, purging their team, filing bankruptcy and almost permanently trading harmonies for housecleaning. But there’s a mythical pull to music that kept sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers moving forward, and they came out with a biting and beautiful third LP, produced by Brandi Carlile, You Don’t Own Me Anymore. Their first as New West signees, it’s a document of hardship and redemption, of pushing forward when it would be so much easier to drown in grief. And it’s a story about how passion and pure artistry can be the strongest sort of salvation—how art is left, like perfect grains of sand, when everything else has washed away.
“This record is deeply personal because of what we endured,” says Lydia. “But it’s important as a songwriter and artist to talk about the times things weren’t great. This is a hard business, and it’s not all roses and rainbows. What we came out with is more honest than ever, and we couldn’t help that a lot of it is about the darkness.”
In the beginning, before that darkness moved in, things were a little like rainbows and roses for the sisters, who rose quickly through the music universe. An open audition in Nashville in 2009 lead them to a major label deal and a debut record produced by T Bone Burnett and Dave Cobb, followed by a tour with Levon Helm and Ray LaMontagne, a feat for any artist, let alone two that had just gotten started. From there, they opened for the likes of Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Paul Simon, appeared on numerous late night shows, and released a second album with Burnett. But the tides turned quickly—things can change in an instant, both for the good, and the bad. And when the clouds started to lift, Carlile was there to help usher in the sunshine. The end product finds the sisters taking their music to new places, with soulful, gospel grooves and stirring vocal deliveries that never seek perfection over power. From murder ballads to skewering roasts, it’s a guidebook for survival.
After all, sometimes you have to lose everything to get a renewed version in return. Like the Tennessee River they sing about, only after a drought does fresh, new water come rushing in. The same could be said for The Secret Sisters, who were scraped dry and put through hell, coming out with their finest record, You Don’t Own Me Anymore. “The only way we could have completely healed was to have written an entire record,” says Laura. “I think we were just in the wrong parts of the machine,” says her sister. “We feel like we have learned where not to be, and where to go.” And that’s to never let anyone or anything own them again.