The Secret Sister @ Academy 2 - Wednesday 18th May

Greeting the audience with a cheery "how is everybody" the Secret Sisters charmed the small but enthusiastic audience. This suggests that sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers may not be such a secret for too much longer. Both Sisters play rudimentary guitar, though Lydia tells us that her sister is better at it (and Lydia agreed) and that she has never really got betteras a guitarist. But the truth their playing works in context and really it's their voices that everyone is here to hear. Both sing lead on different songs with Laura generally singing lead on the self-composed songs. They also included several other songs from their self-titled debut album including Why Baby Why and the traditional Do You Love An Apple. Noting the comparison that has been made between themselves and the Everly Brothers the delivered a striking Devoted To You, which included two fluffed lines from Lydia much to the amusement of Laura. But was was apparent with this song and throughout the evening was the striking harmonies the sisters bring to their performance. That and a natural exuberance which is evident in the stories and general observations that Laura gives between the songs. These included the fact that European hotel rooms are much smaller that ones in the U.S. and therefore leads to the pair having small tantrums, something that she reiterated a number of times. That, in it's own way adds the the openness and intimacy of the evening. That they had sung in church was reflected by the inclusion of several gospel songs including their self composed River Jordan. Laura said they were still finding their way as they were "new to being artists". They paid homage to artists they had grown up listening to with versions of Patsy Cline's Leaving On Your Mind which Lydia sang solo. Laura cracking that sister Lydia would be "a big country star" when they broke up. They told us that they were so proud that Hank Williams Sr. was from their home state of Alabama and then sang a spirited Your Cheatin' Heart. Laura also told us that she had moved to Tennessee when she was young and that "a boy broke my heart when I was there" this was the reason she had written Tennessee Me. This led to her revealing that they were really looking forward to flying home the next day to see their parents and that they were both "Daddy's girls". Other tales including touring with Willie Nelson but staying off his bus. They brought support act Simon Lynge onstage for an excellent three voice version of Dream Lover. There is a rawness to their performance that is endearing and infectious and it remains to be seen if that will be lost once they become veterans of the industry. It can be hoped that they stay this way for as long as possible for they are a breath of fresh air in an over-produced musical world. The closed with an acapella rendition of You Belong To Me that was stunning and a final testament to their talent and undoubted charm.

Review by Steve Rapid, photograph by Ronnie Norton