Known for their sweet harmonies and onstage warmth and fun, both are gifted songwriters, who have received recognition at national level, including the ASA awards and Best New Talent at Port Fairy Folk Festival early in their career.
The sisters perform around Melbourne eg Open Studio, Clifton Hill Hotel, Bar 303, the Lomond Hotel, and on the Australian festival circuit, including Port Fairy 2013, 2010, Fairbridge WA, 2012, Cobargo FF 2012, the Tablelands FF, Qld 2011, Maldon FF 2011 & 2008, Brunswick Music Festival 2010, the National FF 2010 & 2011 and Woodford 2010, and at folk clubs such as the Merry Muse, Canberra, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai, Illawarra, Selby, Burrinja Ranges, Newcastle/Hunter Valley, The Shack, Narrabeen and Bendigo.
Alanna & Alicia received an Arts Victoria Grant to make their second album, ‘Two in a Book’, 2010, and their independent debut album, ‘Funny She’s So Much Like Me’ was released in 2006.
In Jan 2012 they were awarded an Arts Victoria Touring Grant and toured WA, SA, ACT and NSW from Feb to May 2012.
Description of the CD:
Known for their fine songwriting and sweet harmonies, twin sisters Alanna & Alicia sing their own special blend of folk, jazz and roots with consummate backing from Andy & Pete Baylor on guitar and Amy Bennett on piano and viola.
Alanna & Alicia Egan – Two in a Book
CD review by Chris Spencer
Before I start this review I must confess my association with the father of twins, Alanna & Alicia.
I used to work with Michael but only recently did I learn that he and his wife Maudee, who is also the duo’s manager, used to play as a duo on the folk circuit when they were a similar age.
Next time you see the twins play, see if you can see Michael watching nearby and ask about his past – he wasn’t very forthcoming when I spoke to him last!
The folk scene is in a healthy state if older folkies continue to foster new singers like Alanna & Alicia.
This is the twin’s second album, and I think it’s an improvement on the first.
This time they have perhaps stronger lyrics and a better cast of musicians – such as Andy & Peter Baylor, Richard Mander and Amy Bennett.
I guess this is more an album of lyrics than of music, as the twins take turns to sing songs about their relationships, insecurities and family.
Whereas most pop songs are about love and lost love, these women describe unusual reflections of their partners – such as wondering if their partner borrowed them as a library book (“The Book”), contemplating their future together – wondering if they can afford to buy a house, or lamenting not making decisions about the future (“Big White Dresses”); cooking for one or remembering small, almost incidental habitual acts of a former partner (“When you Come Back”).
Or wanting a partner to be more open and intimate “Cloak”. How different families cope with conflict (“This Thing”); or living in shared houses (“The Sharehouse”).
The only non original song is a cover version of a Joni Mitchell song, “All I Want” which they recorded for the Joni Mitchell Tribute album, Festival Folk sing Joni Mitchell.
This helps break up the album, and provides a different slant or perspective to the rest of the album.
“Bird in the Hand” provides the title of the album, and has a lilting jazzy musical break in the middle. I assume each twin sings the lead in the songs they have written – about half each and none seem to be written together – but other wise it’s difficult to tell their voices apart; their harmonies are sweet, and the arrangements at times different.
Overall it’s a laid back album that requires some intent scrutiny of the lyrics, as the instrumentation takes a back seat.
However on repeated listens, the instrumentation comes under notice for all its subtleness.
Recommended for those who appreciate a combination of lyrics and laid back, easy-going music.
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