Welcome to our Short Sisters Legacy site! Our music is distributed by CD Baby to all the streaming sites and iTunes. You can order hard copies directly from us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything is on CD: Downsized, Love and Transportation, Live From Four States, A Planet Dancing Slow and A Little Gracefulness. The Short Tape lives on in memory only, and the good stuff from Live at Paul and Annie's is on Downsized. When I figure out how to post tracks here, I will!
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“Let's start with the easy bit: the Short Sisters aren't sisters, and neither are they height-challenged. But they are ladies. Three of 'em. Ladies with fine voices who also sing together in glorious harmony. Which they've been doing since 1979, it appears. So why only now do I finally get to hear 'em? Well, it turns out I owe this to Jez Lowe, on whose recommendation they did a short (what else?!) mini-tour (I hesitate to use the word "tourette"!) during April this year; I checked them out at the Black Swan folk club in York, and was not in any way disappointed. Lovely singers; excellent individual voices that blend so well; intuitive arrangements; canny choice of material; a keen, natural and immediate rapport with each other and their audience; friendly and genuinely approachable folks with no pretensions. Too good to be true? Hell, no!… So where does Downsized fit into the picture then? It turns out to be only the trio's fifth proper album release in 35 years (its immediate predecessor was 2002's collection Love And Transportation), and back-tracking reveals nothing less than the virtues of constancy, consistency, continuity and integrity running all throughout that timespan. Each disc is like a mini-patchwork that forms a piece of the jigsaw of the massive world of song that the ladies are (still) exploring. And they love sharing their discoveries with an audience: that is evident from the enthusiasm with which they're immediately received. Sure, everything they perform is brilliantly, obviously arranged, calculated even - well, that's the nature of the beast, it has to be if you're doing harmonies; and yet the ladies' performances both retain that essential frisson of cooperative spontaneity and effortlessly convey the sheer joy they experience in singing together - just as siblings would (even tho' they're not!). The Short Sisters' repertoire is intelligently chosen and wholly inclusive, eagerly embracing quality contemporary writing and songs from the various traditions (whether American, British or African-American): anything from rounds, part songs and Sacred Harp to chorus songs and narrative balladry, thoughtful and reflective to seriously frivolous, via quirky philosophy and other curios from all over the vast musical toyshop in which the ladies thoroughly enjoy being let loose. The voices and the harmonies are necessarily the focus, and a good proportion of the songs are done a cappella, but there's also a limited degree of instrumental accompaniment, accomplished but tastefully understated and thus admirably unobtrusive: the banjo is played by Fay Baird, guitar by Kim Wallach or Kate Seeger (Peggy's niece), the latter also playing autoharp. Just under half of Downsized comprises recent studio recordings, the remainder of the tracks having been captured live at three different venues (ranging from coffee-house to concert-hall). A beautiful arrangement of Blues Run The Game sits strangely well alongside Jez Lowe's hilarious Vikings and the pithy round Upon Finding Just One (from the pen of Finest Kind's Ann Downey), while the now-classic CB&S "21st century worksong" Twenty-Four Seven provides a lively counterpart both to the chain-gang worksong Lazarus and Otis Jackson's gospel-style call-and-response epic from the New Deal era Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt. The ladies sure like pointing connections! Other significant discoveries during the course of this well-filled disc include the wistful, charming observation Shacks And Chalets (perceptively written by Pete Sutherland over four decades ago, and still very much relevant), and the country-flavoured ghost story (set in Scotland!) of The Piper's Refrain (this one featuring some neat harmonica fills from Dean Spencer), while the ladies also turn in a haunting and sympathetic rendition of Ca' The Yowes (inspired by the version by Louisa Killen). Kim's own considerable songwriting abilities are showcased on the tongue-in-cheekily nostalgic Home In Old New Jersey and the grin-inducing "economic love song" Average Your Income, while she also delivers a skilful and most satisfying part-song setting of Robert Frost's iconic poem Fire And Ice. Finally, the disc's ideal-closing-number It's A Pleasure To Know You (penned by Karl Williams) is sentimental in the nicest possible way. All in all, Downsized presents The Short Sisters in all their quiet glory, according us the privilege of sharing some wonderful songs in their company in the form of a perfect calling-card. Downsized it may be, in that it's a small and select gathering, but we're in no sense Short-changed by the experience! ” - David Kidman
“Imagine my distress, yet another pledge drive. and yet I usually warm up to the idea whether i intended to pledge or not. Just returning from New Hampshire near Worcester I turned on to Susan Hansen with the Short Sisters and was floored. Usually i'm listening to evening news / jazz a la mode and succumbing to Tom Reney and Rena Fischer [staffers] during one of those precarious moments, but the mixture of Ms Hansen's hosting and her guests' effortless grace was too pleasurable to resist, and indistinguishable somehow from the business of a public radio station. My folk experience doesn't extend far outside of Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs, but if i'd had a car phone i'd have called that Sunday afternoon....It's not much, but i am including this contribution for now. Sincerely, Mason E. McKibben...Bloomfield CT” - Mason E. McKibben
“"This audience, sprinkled with other musicians, performers and with many long time "veterans" of the Florida Folk Festival, had high expectations and the Short Sisters surpassed them all with their exuberant performance, full of crystal clarity and perfect harmony. This group's knowledge and reverence for the tradition and heritage behind many of the songs they sing adds a dimension to their performance that is all too rare a treat on today's music scene. On top of that, their original compositions are of a high quality and similar style that makes them a comfortable fit in a set list full of classics. The Short Sisters drew the audience into their performance with style, grace and a sense of FUN that left us all smiling, laughing and yes, even singing, all for the pure joy of it!" ” - Walter MacKenzie
“THE SHORT SISTERS Downsized Black Socks Press I really like what happens when three talented women singers come together in glorious harmony. Groups like the Wailin’ Jennys, the Good Lovelies, Herdman, Hills & Mangsen (Priscilla Herdman, Anne Hills, Cindy Mangsen) and the Marigolds – all of them very different in sound and repertoire – are quite wonderful with what they do with a song. Along with the groups mentioned above, the Short Sisters are one of my all-time favorite trios of harmonizing women. They’ve been singing together since 1979, but Downsized is just their fifth album and their first since 2002 – and like its predecessors, the CD is a treat from the first song to the last. In fact, the opening paragraph I wrote 11 years ago for my Sing Out! magazine review of their previous album, Love and Transportation, is just as applicable to Downsized: “The Short Sisters – Fay Baird, Kate Seeger and Kim Wallach – are not real sisters. However, when their voices combine in sweet harmony on this set of traditional and contemporary songs drawn from a variety of sources, they sure do sound like siblings who have been harmonizing for a lifetime. It is also obvious that they have chosen and arranged these songs, to borrow a phrase from the late Townes Van Zandt, simply for the sake of the song and the joy of singing. When they’re not singing a cappella, the Short Sisters keep the arrangements tasteful and simple, acoustic guitars played by Kim and Kate, banjo by Fay and occasionally, some very nice harmonica work by Dean Spencer.” The only thing I need to add is that Kate also plays autoharp on a couple of songs on the new album. While all 16 songs in the hour-long set are delightful, a few of my favorites include “The Vikings,” a satirical tune by Jez Lowe (perhaps my very favorite British songwriter), a beautiful version “Ca’ the Yowes,” a Scottish song written or collected by Robert Burns, Kim’s “Home in Old New Jersey,” a delightfully arranged nostalgic piece about the state she grew up in, and “Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt,” Otis Jackson’s tribute to the president who introduced the New Deal (this is the song my friend Jesse Winchester rewrote about 40 years ago to also pay tribute to the Canadian politicians whose policies allowed safe haven for Vietnam War resistors). I was also delighted to hear the Short Sisters’ version of “Upon Finding Just One,” a terrific round written by my neighborhood pal Ann Downey, the traditional “Goin’ Down to Tampa,” and Lester Simpson’s “Twenty-Four Seven,” a labor song for these times we’re living in. ” - -Mike Regenstreif
““We’ve been fans of the Short sisters for a long time and we’re thrilled to be bringing them to 333,” says Tom Rhoades, host of the coffeehouse. “Their harmonies border on the telepathic, and their concerts have a really fun, friendly vibe. They could be considered old school, but musicianship like theirs never goes out of style.” ”