The band called SHEL is from a generation of musicians who grew up on their parents record collections. The four sisters from Colorado, ranging from 18 to 24 years old, were listening to folk music and classic rock as much as contemporary music, maybe more. They’ve created a charming and infectious sound, full of serene harmonies and playful instrumentation, but there’s also something deeper lurking in this music. On the heels of their self-titled debut album, SHEL came to echoes and gave us a glimpse into their music.
SHEL is Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook. Despite their age, many of SHEL’s songs portray a sense of loss and tragedy that is beyond their years, especially from people who appear to have had an idyllic childhood full of music and a Waltons kind of family life. So you might wonder where the angst comes from in one of their earlier songs, “Try To Scream.”
“I read a lot of books by C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald,” explains SHEL’s Eva Holbrook. She’s the writer and mandolin player in the band. “Actually those are some of my favorite things to do, actually to curl up and read George MacDonald because his books are so full of conviction. And it just reminds me that you know, no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve been through, the challenge of doing the right thing even when it’s hard, or not doing the wrong thing even when you want to do it, all of that like even in an ideal life there’s angst… you know, I’ve been in relationships that I felt really trapped in and always come out on the other side of it But that’s just how I expressed it is through music.”
SHEL grew up in a musical family and actually started out backing up their father, Andrew Holbrook.
“I think that’s part of our folk background as well,” says Eva. “He’s been a singer-songwriter for most of his life, so we grew up going to his shows and–we all started playing our instruments around the age of 10 or so. And we’d get up there on stage with him one by one and back him up on different songs. So that’s actually how we got started.
They also listened to their parent’s record collection.
“Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, The Who, The Who was a big one. Yes, all the awesome bands. Super Tramp,” they all shout out, verbally tumbling over each other.
“Both Mom and Dad had great taste in music,” says Liza. “They were definitely hippies.”
“She loved Echoes,” admits Eva. “She and our older brother did, so we grew up listening to Echoes. It was like any time we were coming home late in the car at night and Echoes was on, it was awesome.”
I don’t know how much of an influence Echoes had on them but you can hear the classic rock sound in their cover of Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore.”
~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))
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