Hailing from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Laura and Lydia Rogers first learned to harmonize by singing together in their local church. Despite their blood-deep connection as musicians, the sisters didn't consider pursuing a career as a duo until a chance audition in 2010 with none other than Dave Cobb. Laura and Lydia signed with Universal Republic Records as the Secret Sisters shortly after.
The duo's self-titled debut was a fine collection of cover songs that harkened back to eras past, not just because they were picking from the discographies of artists like George Jones and Frank Sinatra, either. The Secret Sisters recorded on analog equipment and used vintage microphones to arrive authentically at an anachronistic sound.
The duo's follow-up album, Put Your Needle Down, was produced by T. Bone Burnett and put The Secret Sisters on the charts. The record cracked the top 20 on the Top Country Albums chart, peaking at No. 18.
While one could have predicted that things would only go up for the Secret Sisters from there, they experienced financial and artistic turmoil instead. The duo was dropped from their label, couldn't afford to hit the road again, and even considered giving up on music.
Fortunately, the Secret Sisters were given another fate-altering opportunity by an Americana legend. This time, it was Brandi Carlile: she invited the duo to open for her in 2015. Carlile's support injected new life into their career. In 2017, the Secret Sisters released their third album, You Don't Own Me Anymore, produced by Carlile with Tim and Phil Hanseroth, which earned the duo their very first Grammy nomination.
Since then, the Secret Sisters have been hitting their stride. 2020's Saturn Return featured some of their best songwriting to date, earning the duo well-deserved critical acclaim. Meanwhile, they spent 2021 expanding their sound and collaborating with other artists for several singles.
We can't wait to see what the duo will do next. Until then, join The Boot in counting down 10 of the Secret Sisters' best songs so far.
"The One I Love Is Gone"from 'The Secret Sisters' (2010)
Bill Monroe, known as the Father of Bluegrass, wrote "The One I Love Is Gone" in the 1950s. However, he never recorded the track. It remained unreleased until 1973, when Hazel Dickens and Alice Foster recorded it.
In the care of The Secret Sisters, "The One I Love Is Gone" is a sweeping, moody number. Though the duo released the song on their 2010 debut record, it sounds like it could be from the era it was originally written in.
"Hand Over My Heart"from 'Saturn Return' (2020)
On Saturn Return, The Secret Sisters are less concerned with paying homage to the past. Instead, they craft a sound representative of their present creative moment.
On "Hand Over My Heart," the sisters relinquish heavier themes and have some fun, embracing soft pop sounds and the promise of new love.
"The Exception" (with Dustbowl Revival)from 'The Exception' (2021)
In 2021, The Secret Sisters teamed up with roots band Dustbowl Revival for the playful single "The Exception." The acoustic track is full of charm, delightful harmonies, and lovers daydreaming about opening a general store and hiding out from the world.
"Quicksand"from 'Quicksand EP' (2021)
On "Quicksand," the title track of their 2021 EP, the duo perfectly captures the anxieties of our modern age. Co-written with Cheyenne Medders, the lyrics provide a frank look inside worried minds.
"I am scared of cruel leaders and a world / gone up in flames / And the very troubled neighbors / And the consequence of pain / And it feels like quicksand."
"Luka"from 'Put Your Needle Down" (2014)
The foreboding "Luka" is one of the standout tracks from Put Your Needle Down. While The Secret Sisters' harmonies are delicate and beautiful, the tale they sing of is anything but: A young woman and her lover escape to Luka, Mississippi, to escape her abusive, short-tempered father.
"Mississippi"from 'You Don't Own Me Anymore' (2017)
The Secret Sisters wrote "Mississippi" with Brandi Carlile for their landmark album You Don't Own Me Anymore. The song is written from the perspective of a whiskey-drinking, angry father.
With lyrics like "Taking off for Mississippi / Wearing someone else's name / Brought you in this world and I / Can take you from it just the same," it feels like we're hearing the second part of the story first introduced in "Luka."
"Hold You Dear"from 'Saturn Return' (2020)
"Hold You Dear" is a tender ode to cherishing our loved ones while we still have the chance. The sentimental, piano-driven track balances the knowledge of impermanence with the appreciation for the present.
The pair sing, "Oh, blessed mother and the father I adore / There is time upon your faces / I will cherish you until you leave me for your eternal holy places."
"Kathy's Song"from 'You Don't Own Me Anymore' (2017)
For You Don't Own Me Anymore, The Secret Sisters covered the Simon & Garfunkel classic, "Kathy's Song." Keeping with the original, The Secret Sisters employ a sparse acoustic arrangement and bring stunning hushed vocals to the melancholic lyrics.
"Water Witch" (with Brandi Carlile)from 'Saturn Return' (2020)
The Secret Sisters' connection with Brandi Carlile runs deep: the Americana star has produced the duo's two most recent albums, and together, they have written numerous songs.
"Water Witch," the first proper collaborative track between the two artists, is a darkly enchanting song about a witchy woman who is "Bewitched by invisible forces / To lead you away from the light."
"He's Fine"from 'You Don't Own Me Anymore' (2017)
On the folk-country track "He's Fine," The Secret Sisters sing of the tormented heartbreak that comes with seeing a lover move on while you remain in pieces.
While lyrics like "Bought a gown to match his name / Kept my virtue just the same / So I could offer to my love / A bride he could be proud of" give the song an old-time essence, its timeless pain resonates with modern listeners: The 2017 song is the duo's most highly streamed song to date.