THE STERLING SISTERS
Is there a story behind your music style?
I played in a band with Scout about three years ago, and in another band with some of the other guys. After about a year with both of them, I got to thinking about trying to write and record some country songs, and I asked Scout if she'd be interested in working with me. She had done a folky kind of record before she came to Baltimore that I really liked. She's got this really different style of singing, you know, like opera. We both grew up listening to old country music, so we were both really into the idea. We got together to try to write some songs, and Andrew was my roommate at the time so we asked him if he wanted to try to do some banjo. He'd never played it at that point, but we all sat down and wrote a couple songs. We figured we might as well make it a band, so we asked Corey to play percussion with us. We had a friend playing violin with us for a while, and now we've got Eric playing pedal steel and guitar. Eric's about twenty times better than any of us at our instruments, so he's sort of the saving grace of the band. It's been about a year and a half now that we've been playing.
Hale is your debut album. Can you tell me more about the songs on the album?
There's ten songs on the record. Some of them we've been playing since we started, some of them are newer. Pesanta Urfolk approached us about recording the album last summer. This guy Adam runs the label, and he's been unreasonably kind to us. We couldn't have done the record without his help.
People have described your music as Gothic Country. Do you feel this is an appropriate representation?
I guess so. We've certainly borrowed enough or been influenced enough by bands who are called that. But I wouldn't call our music gothic really. Good country music is sad and dark, good rock n'roll is angry and loud. Gothic is like… I don't know, not us. You have to have something smarter behind your music, something that's deep to be able to call it Gothic. Like, old European history and symbolism. Which I don't know anything about. I think it's beautiful, but that's not me. I've never left the country. USA all the way.
What is your favorite song off the new album Hale?
My favorite song is "Heaven."
Your father is Slim Cessna from Slim Cessna's Auto Club. What was it like growing up in that musical household?
At the risk of sounding like hippies, which my father would be quick to defend that we're not, there was always a lot of art and creative spirit in our home. Both of my parents are artists; my mother's a painter, my father plays music in a band. There were usually instruments around to play, most of which I learned by ear, not well, but enough to use when I first starting taking music somewhat seriously. I wanted to be a drummer when I was growing up, and my parents were very supportive considering all of the racket I made. I have an older sister who is a much more talented musician than I am. She went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh for music performance, playing the oboe. My first band was with her, actually. We were probably five and seven years old. I played the drums and she sang. I really wish we had a recording of it.