Twin sisters Alanna & Alicia launched ‘Twinlines’, their long awaited third album of original folk/jazz/roots songs at the Port Fairy Folk Festival in March.
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.
Their lyrics, equal parts heart and humour, sparkle with an original, intimate voice in these diverse new songs on their new album, ‘Twinlines’.
‘Double Trouble’, their most requested song at gigs, is an hilarious satire for twins everywhere, while the melancholy ballad ‘Blue Birthday’ offers a comforting alternative to the most sung song in the world, and ‘Songlines’ explores the enchanting world of indigenous culture and laments the impact of mining.
The album opens with the catchy, folk fable, ‘Sister Blister’ and closes with yelping fiddles, wailing trumpets, clarinets and sax in a full band gypsy romp arrangement of another gig favourite ‘Waltz of the Last Lover.’
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Craig Pilkington at Audrey Studios and produced by Craig, Alanna & Alicia.
Their fine band features Damien Neil (guitar), Matiss Schubert (violin, mandolin, accordion), Silas Palmer (piano), Mark Elton (double bass) and Denis Close (drums and percussion), with special guest Pugsley Buzzard on the charmingly, irresistible duet ‘The Early Bird and the Night Owl’.
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. They are also part of a Joni Mitchell tribute album, ‘Festival folk sing Joni Mitchell.’
In Jan 2012 they were awarded an Arts Victoria Touring Grant and toured WA, SA, ACT and NSW from Feb to May 2012.
CD Review by Chris Spencer
This is the third album by Alanna & Alicia Egan; it continues their delightful, witty lyrics and songwriting. It builds on their previous two albums, sounding more confident and adventurous. Their harmonies continue to impress and the times I have seen them live over the past 12 months, they are more engaging on stage, being less shy, less self conscious and incorporating more theatre into their performances.
There is also greater use of a wider range of instruments than on previous albums fiddle, mandolin, button accordion, clarinet and saxophone. On this album they extend their musical genres to include more jazz influenced tunes, a waltz and a duet with Pugsley Buzzard. Buzzard’s gruff voice is a strong contrast to the sweet vocals of the twins.
The album starts off with a poppy tune, Sister Blisterin which various members of the Egan family express envy of the twins’ seemingly superior lifestyle.
Songlines tackles indigenous affiliations with the land, Double Trouble, one of the strongest tracks and a live favourite, highlights the experiences of being twins.
Andy Baylor co-writes two tracks on the album with each of the twins the jazzy Rosalie and Over Time.
The latter is a song of lost love and recuperating.
The Early Bird and the Night Owl has alternating verses with Pugsley Buzzard guesting on piano and vocals; more jazzy than bluesy.
Blue Birthday is suitably down, with a shuffling tempo.
The Egans cover a song of John Beavis, Fly like a Bird. Apparently Beavis was an inspiration for the twins when they were growing up in Bendigo.
Finally the last track, The Waltz of the Last Lover another live favourite by all accounts. It’s a warning to a current boyfriend not to mention his previous girlfriend or soon he will have another previous girlfriend. The song gradually swells to a crescendo of various instruments of gypsy swing.
If you’ve enjoyed this duo on stage, own any of their previous cds, you will want this cd in your collection.