Not even an all-day rain could dampen the spirits of The Secret Sisters as the church bus rolled into Cleveland’s Music Box Supper Club for wonderful night of entertainment Thursday evening. The audience was given a fair warning that they were in for a “depressing night and will be riding the emotional roller-coaster” with many songs of heartache and bad relationships.
The duo of Laura Rogers (vocals) and Lydia Rogers (guitar/vocals) have persevered over the last two years during a turbulent time being on the brink of walking away from their career. Their previous label dropped them after not meeting company expectations with the release of Put Your Needle Down and the girls headed back to Alabama bankrupt and broken. Hardships and pain are part of the ingredients that songwriters feed through the life processor and The Secret Sisters used that as motivation for their brilliant new album You Don’t Own Me Anymore. At times like these, you really need a friend and Brandi Carlile reached out to the girls about producing the record and New West Records came onboard and signed them. Laura referred to the recording process as “just like pregnancy” with touring prior to the official release date of June 9th and can’t wait for folks to hear it.
Well, the audience was in for a treat as the sixteen song set included seven of the new album’s compositions leading off with “Tennessee River Runs Low”. After “Black and Blue”, a song the girls first worked with Carlisle on, two murder ballads “Iuka” and from the new Lp the powerful “Mississippi” followed. Laura does most of the talking with Lydia chiming in, like a sister would, with some sarcastic rebuttal. It gave the show a dash of southern comedy between songs that only a handful of performers can master. Tonight they were backed by Cheyenne Medders (bass/guitar) and Will Medders (drums/bass), who opened the show with a seven song set, and Laura joked how it was nice to see how siblings get along.
As Laura was telling the crowd she hopes she makes enough money to afford a cup holder for her mic, a server came out with a small silver-plated stand to the delight of the girls. Next came the Bill Monroe tune “The One I love is Gone” as the girls reminisced about traveling to weekend Bluegrass festivals with their Dad. Other cover songs included “Make The World Go Away” by Eddie Arnold and The Everly Brothers “Let It Be Me” that the sisters performed in Cleveland during a Music Masters tribute show sponsored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. New tracks “King Cotton”, written in tribute to their home state, a radio friendly single about failed romantic pursuits called “He’s Fine”, and looking back into the abyss with “The Damage” were well received. The rest of the set included “Rattle My Bones”, “Who’s Gonna Love You If I Don’t”, “Carry Me”, “You Don’t Own Me Anymore”, and the show stopper “Bad Habit”. The closing number had Laura, Lydia, and Cheyenne singing around a single microphone the gospel hymn “When All of God’s Singers Get Home” along with words of appreciation to the audience. Laura left the stage holding the cup table like a silver challis, making her way to the merch table where everyone could take home a different type of souvenir …including the new album.