Two national musical acts that also happen to be made up of sisters will be performing together in Whitesburg this Friday night.
Headlining this unique pairing of folk-rock talent is SHEL, a band from Fort Collins, Colorado made up of Holbrook sisters Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza. Also appearing are the Graeff twins from Sarasota, Florida — Brooke and Brit — who form the duo Good Graeff. Taylyn Combs, a very talented singer from Letcher County, will also perform. Admission to the show, which begins at 8 p.m., is $12.
Without knowing it, many people are already familiar with the outstanding vocal and instrumental abilities of SHEL, as the band’s music has been part of national television ad campaigns for Splenda and Glade. In addition, songs by SHEL have been featured in the CBS television series “Jersey Girl” and the ABC Family’s hit TV show “The Fosters.”
“From their fetching, unpredictable songs to their whimsical, hand-made top hats, SHEL makes a profound impression, something they are doing to growing crowds and critical acclaim,” writer Craig Havighurst says of the band. “Sisters Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza were born within five years of each other. Raised and home-schooled by a professional songwriter father and an artist mother, they dove into music young. Hannah was first to take classical lessons on piano. Then it was Sarah on violin, Liza on harp and Eva on mandolin. Liza switched to the drums upon discovery of her passion for polyrhythm. Then in the early 2000s, they started working up and performing songs with their father (Andrew Holbrook). Over time, Eva stepped forward as the lead vocalist. Andrew Holbrook with SHEL became SHEL with Andrew Holbrook—and then just SHEL.”
“Allusions abound to their core influences — The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Harry Nilsson and acoustic super-group Strength In Numbers — but you’ve never heard this before,” adds Havighurst. “They are richly feminine, but they don’t shy from covering Led Zeppelin’s ‘The Battle of Evermore.’ Above all, there’s variety and creativity. Pure acoustic tone is best when it’s best, but if an electric mandolin or special effect is called for, they let the song dictate the production.”
SHEL has also performed at major musical events such as the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Nashville’s Music City Roots, and Lilith Fair.
The duo Good Graeff (pronounced “grayf”) creates powerful folk-charged indie pop that centers on Brooke Graeff ’s dynamic & original vocals and upbeat acoustic chord progressions, which are finessed into creative and memorable pop songs by Brit Graeff ’s melodic, classically influenced cello riffs.
With a Kickstarter-funded debut “Get Great Tour,” the Graeff twins traveled the U.S. nonstop to promote their premier EP “Better Half,” and they don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Good Graeff has already started laying down tracks for a new EP, recorded pop pop covers for Cleopatra Records, filmed three new music videos and played Midpoint music Festival. “Spreading our music is so important,” says Brit, “there is no sense in slowing down if you have momentum.”
The group originated as a busking duo when the twins were 16, playing on street corners of Sarasota, FL, where they spent their teenage years. At 18, Brooke moved to Canada to become a foley artist and Brit studied marketing and international business then packed up her bags to travel around Europe and India, then eventually settled in Hanoi, Viet- nam. Brooke joined her there in 2012, and Good Graeff was born into its second life, a little less than 10 years later and 10,000 miles away, though again on a street corner. The band still retains a dedicated following in Vietnam.
“It’s not easy living in a van and constantly touring, but I think thats what we like about it,” says Brooke. “It’s not something everyone can do. It really pushes us to always be doing bigger and better things, like ride unicorns and braid our hair.”
Persons wishing more information about Friday night’s scheduled performances may call 633- 2715.