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What does Austin-influenced, rural-Pennsylvanian, indie sister-folk sound like? Verbosity aside, it sounds uniquely like The Hello Strangers, a sister duo whose haunting harmonies and original, wittingly noir songwriting style are the backbone of their sound.
The Hello Strangers are about to release their first full-length, self-titled album with IMI Music in Nashville, Tennessee. The album features 11 originals and 2 covers, including "What You Don't Know," written by, and featuring on vocals, Jim Lauderdale; and "Que Sera, Sera," an homage to their grandfather, Ronald Chace, who sang with Doris Day.
The Hello Strangers were born out of the Austin, Texas music scene in 2006 when sisters Larissa Chace Smith and Brechyn Chace wrote their first song together, entitled “Pregnant in Jail.” Based on true events, it was a preamble to a string of original tunes the pair crafted in a little cottage off South Congress Avenue. Soon, however, the mountains of Pennsylvania beckoned the girls back north, and so they packed up their lives, dogs, and Larissa’s husband and returned to their two-stoplight hometown.
The move has since proven to be a boon for the duo. The sisters have created a catalogue of original music with nods to American folk traditions, modern indie rock, Texas country-folk, and roots rock, all tied together with lilting harmonies that only sisters can create. Timeless imagery and fables are at the core of each song, from tales of a boggy creek bottom where a murdered man sleeps, to a Texas roadhouse with bawdy dancers and clinking beer bottles, to more poignant reflections on the loss of winter or a man gone wrong.
The sisters are backed by a dynamic and talented trio: Spencer Pheil on lead guitar, Trent Renshaw on drums, and Tom Hoy on bass.
Chuck Dauphin of Music News Nashville says, "They are just – for lack of a more sophisticated term – Damn Good. Take a listen to a cut like “Chances,” and if you are not totally hooked by their spellbinding harmony, your hearing must not be working right. It’s a sonically brilliant cut – from start to finish, one that simply needs to be heard. Ditto that for the Appalachian feel of “The World Knows Far Better,” where the harmony is chilling, as is the harmonica work from Brechyn. The sisters even match musical wits and talent with the incredible Jim Lauderdale on his gem “What You Don’t Know,” which they keep as haunting as his 1990s original.”