The Watson Twins
By James Calemine
Chandra and Leigh Watson are identical twins from Louisville, Kentucky. Fire Songs, their third disc, draws upon a stripped down sound that operates on their folk background. The genetic code in their voices makes for amazing listening. They collaborated in the past with Jenny Lewis and her band Rilo Kiley. The Watson Twins moved to Los Angeles in the 1990s where they formed a group Slydell and later became integral southern musicians in the Laurel Canyon music scene that includes Jonathan Wilson, Johnathan Rice, Gary Louris and the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson.
“How Am I To Be” opens Fire Songs with a poppy, swinging sound. “Lady Love Me" contains an aching pedal steel that lingers behind the Twins’ harmonizing—complete with a solid beat—transmits pleasant listening. “Fall”, a quiet, moody song washes on the senses likes waves rolling in on the beach. “Just Like Heaven” contains a lush quality in the sonic landscape. It’s interesting how the Twins can hide lyrics in the way they sing them, but the melody lingers…
An almost calypso beat holds “Map To Where You Are” in precise cadence that adds a diversity to the track list. “Dig A Little Deeper” returns to their Kentucky roots in a back road-feeling in the musical narrative. The effects of this record are subtle but become more apparent as each song elapses.
The centerpiece song—"Sky Open Up”—proves a direct poetic narrative that seeds of the future germinate in the past. An eerie calm pervades this record. “Bar Woman Blues” evokes some sort of Appalachian R&B, by way of Laurel Canyon that serves as an inspiration to any female artist pondering courage in this mean old world.
A classic morning song, “Only You” haunts the memory as the composition evokes images in the listener’s mind that travels time. “Old Ways” would make Gram Parsons proud—enough said. The closing track on Fire Songs, “Waves” carries a delicate balance between dusk and dawn music existing somewhere between a memory and a dream...