Sounds Local: The Green Sisters to play album release show at 1794 Meetinghouse

  • The Green Sisters will celebrate the release of a new album with a show at the 1794 Meetinghouse on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Contributed photo

  • The Green Sisters will celebrate the release of a new album with a show at the 1794 Meetinghouse on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Contributed photo

  • The Green Sisters recently released a new album called “Endless Blue.” Contributed photo

  • Tracy Grammer and Jim Henry will perform at Greenfield’s Energy Park on Sunday at 6 p.m. Contributed photo

For the Recorder
Published: 7/18/2018 11:52:27 AM

From the sweet sounds of the Everly Brothers to the quirky tunes of The Roches, there’s nothing quite like the gorgeous harmonies created by singing siblings. There was proof of that this past weekend, when the Brother Brothers, twin brothers from Brooklyn, N.Y., joined their voices together and won over the crowds at the Green River Festival.

The beautiful harmonies of siblings singing together is also what makes the music of The Green Sisters — four sisters from Hubbardston — so irresistible.

The sisters — Melody (Mel), Betsy (Bets), Brianna (Brie) and Rebecca (Beck) — who are all songwriters and play multiple string instruments, have been delighting area music fans for the past three years. They now have a new album out called “Endless Blue” and will celebrate its release with a show at the 1794 Meetinghouse, 26 South Main St. in New Salem, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“Endless Blue” is produced by Tom Manhken (Trailer Park, Young @ Heart Chorus) and not only showcases the sisters’ impeccable harmonies, but the group’s ability to work in a variety of genres including Celtic, old timey, folk and bluegrass.

The sisters have been singing together for as long as they can remember.

“We grew up on a farm, so whenever we were doing all our chores or driving anywhere in the van, we would be singing. I’m sure much to our parents annoyance, but that’s just the way it was,” Brie Green said in a recent phone conversation.

Singing came naturally as the girls grew up in a musical family. Their parents, Rick and Joyce, even had a band, and at times encouraged the girls to join in on the act.

“They had a band called The Housejackers, which was kind of a blues-rock-country-western band,” Brie Green said. “Initially, my dad tried to force us to sing with them, but we were so young that it was terrifying. We were just so shy!”

Like a lot of children, The Green Sisters learned to play musical instruments in school, and played in school bands and orchestras. In their teens, they started writing songs and poems. Music and singing was an integral part of their life, but the idea of forming a band didn’t occur to them until they all had finished college.

“I kind of asked them, ‘Do you want to be a real band?’ because we kept being asked by people to play at weddings and various things,” Brie Green said. “But we didn’t know any material, we just knew the dumb songs that we sang nonstop when we were doing chores. So we decided to be a real band and actually get some material together.”

One of the first gigs they ever played was at the Orange Coffeehouse.

“I remember playing in this church basement, and it was such a good time,” Brie Green recalled.

The sisters currently play as many as 12 New England-based shows a month. They’ve talked about branching out and doing some touring, but nothing is currently in the works. In addition to sharing the various tasks that are involved in being in a performing band, they all hold down day jobs. Melody Green is the oldest sister, but there is no designated leader of the band.

“I think we are all the boss,” said Brie Green, who, along with Mel still resides in Hubbardston, while Betsy lives in New Hampshire and Becks lives in Petersham.

I mentioned to Brie that the music business is fraught with feuding brothers — everyone from the Everly Brothers to the Gallagher Brothers in Oasis — and that I hope it’s not that way with sisters.

“No, no,” she said with a laugh. “We work it all out. Being in a band with your family is pretty fun. It’s actually a dream.”

But the logistical side of being in a group can be challenging, and the sisters found that out when they decided it was time to make a record. They weren’t sure where to turn after their first attempt at recording simply didn’t work out. Then a chance meeting with musician Tom Mahnken changed everything.

“We had a gig at the Mount Grace Land Trust in October of 2016 and Trailer Park was playing after us. So we bumped into him and said ‘Oh, you are playing after us. That’s cool,’ and we all became immediate friends,” Brie Green said. “He decided that day that he wanted to record us, even though he hadn’t heard us. He was like ‘You seem like a fun group, I’d like to record you’ and we said ‘OK!’”

“I liked them the minute I met them, and after being around them for about 30 minutes, I thought ‘I want to keep having fun with these people!’” Mahnken said. “It was a darned lucky thing that they turned out to be so good.”

The Green Sisters recorded “Endless Blue” at Mahnken’s Ruckus studio in Ashfield, and he produced and engineered the disc.

The sisters couldn’t have done it without him.

“To me, Tom was like the light at the end of the tunnel, who was there to help us when we needed it,” Brie Green said.

The Trailer Park bassist felt just as positive about working with the sisters.

“I can’t express what a positive impact their music and friendship have had on me,” he said.

“Endless Blue” is an engaging, enjoyable debut that will win the sisters plenty of new fans, while pleasing those who have already discovered this talented quartet. As soon as the disc opens with an a cappella tune “Build My Dreams On,” we are already won over; instantly captivated by the sisters’ gorgeous vocals. From the foot-stomping “Fiddle Mash Up,” to the Celtic-flavored “Sailor’s Valentine,” Mahnken did a great job of capturing the close connection and musical chemistry between the four women.

Brie and Betsy wrote most of the songs on the CD, and the theme of country living crops up more than once.

On Betsy’s bluegrass tune, “In the Valley,” she sing lines like “Can’t stay long on the highway/ Can’t stay long without the hills/If I had it my way/There’d be more time to kill.” While on Brie’s folk song “Oak Tree,” she describes sitting in an old oak tree: “Wish I could stay up here, whistling in the wind/ Am I a bird or am I really a human?”

“It is definitely a huge part of our upbringing,” said Brie Green, who still resides on a farm. “We were always outside and I think we all find peace in nature.”

Hearing songs like this about the simple pleasures of life can’t help but put a smile on your face. And there will be plenty of smiling and singing along when The Green Sisters return to the 1794 Meetinghouse on Saturday night. The sisters played there last summer and Brie Green recalled that it was one of the most fun gigs of the year. They expect to have just as much fun this time around, and stressed that if you want to experience The Green Sisters, complete with all the on-stage sister banter, you really need to see them live.

Tickets are $15 for ages 18 and up, $10 for ages 13 to 17, and free for children 12 and under. Tickets are online at bit.ly/2JAmmCW, at the New Salem General Store and at the door.

The Green Sisters will also perform at the Heath Fair on Aug. 18. For more information, visit the greensistersfour.com.

Tracy Grammer at Energy Park

The Sunday in the Park concert series at Greenfield’s Energy Park continues. This Sunday’s show at 6 p.m. features singer-songwriter Tracy Grammer and multi-instrumentalist Jim Henry.

Grammer, who resides in Greenfield, got her start as part of a duo with the late Dave Carter. After Carter died in 2002, she launched a solo career. Known for her clear alto singing voice and her honest songs, Grammer has an excellent new album out called “Low Tide.”

Grammer spends a great deal of her time out on the road, so a home town show is always a treat. So grab your lawn chair and head to the Energy Park at 50 Miles St. in Greenfield. The suggested donation is $15.

Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at soundslocal@yahoo.com.




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

© 2019 Greenfield Recorder
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy