Grateful Web Interview with The Shook Twins

Article Contributed by Kevin Adams | Published on Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Shook Twins sophomore release, Window is full of frolic and romp. The Portland, Oregon, "Quirky Folk Trio" features identical twins Laurie Shook (vocals, banjo, percussion and beatboxing) and Katelyn Shook (vocals, guitar and mandolin), with Kyle Volkman on bass. Released in April 2011, Window redefines Folk with hair-raising harmonies and an eclectic blend of resonating roots, precocious pop and foolhardy fun.

Chicken bocks, glockenspiel, and wah-wah Banjo abound. Swaddled in this harlequin colored quirkiness, Kyle lays down the groove. Reveling in melodies ready made for a Saturday night or Sunday morning, these toe-tappin’ twins sing with a traditional bend. “Shine On” mixes the twinges and twang of banjo with soft whispered harmonies. The Shook Twins’ song-writing dexterity is displayed in “Potter’s Daughter”, a narrative of a classic backwoods boon. With this new album, The Shook Twins send shivers and shouts!

The Shook Twins Shake Things Up in Colorado

Poised for a summer tour, the Portland Folk Trio had plenty to talk about:

GW: Hi Gals, you seem to be gaining lots of momentum on the West Coast. Your song "Rose" was featured in NPR's Muse Mix, you’ve appeared on nationally syndicated radio show "Live Wire", and recently opened two shows for the Carolina Chocolate Drops. With all this great exposure, do you have a few tricks up your sleeve to keep the audience on their toes? Any surprises you can share for the upcoming tour?

ST: We hope to add more musicians to the team. We have been playing a lot around Portland with an amazing drummer Russ Kleiner (of the Tony Furtado band) and fiddle player, Anna Tivel.

GW: On the new album, Window, your song-writing shines through. There are several tones, varying perspectives, and seemingly honest stories. When writing for the album, did you write separately and then share, or was it more of a collaborative effort on each song?

ST: It was both. Our song writing methods vary each time. Though it's often Katelyn that writes the lyrics and basic guitar part, and then Laurie adds her flare of banjo, looping percussion, harmony, or something else entirely.

GW: Growing up, did you always have the same taste in music? Say…in a long car trip, who controlled the radio?

ST: Yes we do have the exact same taste in music, then and now. Our favorite artists are Laura Veirs, Lost Lander (of Portland), Bon Iver, Ani Difranco, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, etc...

GW: I understand that you are good friends with Colorado-natives, Elephant Revival? How did you come together and decide to collaborate musically?

ST: We met through our manager Phil (Phil Einsohn of Sweetwine Entertainment), when we were touring CO in 2007. He told us to call Bridget Law and ask her to sit in on fiddle for a few of our songs at the First St. Pub in Nederland. We left a nervous message, and were delighted to see her and the rest of Elephant Revival show up to the show. Bridget and Bonnie played basically the full 3 hour set with us! Then we stayed at their house and jammed till the wee hours of the morning. We've been collaborating ever since!

GW: A leg of this summer tour barrels through Boulder, Denver, and then Bond. This last stop you play an event called Campout for the Cause that promotes a pair of non-profits. Can you tell us a little about these causes, and how you became involved in the charitable mini-festival?

ST: We got involved with this family style mini-festival through Elephant Revival. The folks that put it on are dear friends of Bridget Law and she suggested us to come and join the family. We are always down to support non-profits and play music for the good cause of helping The Realm of Caring build a free mini-camp for underprivileged children at State Bridge, and helping All Hands Volunteers provide hands-on assistance to survivors of natural disasters around the world, with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy. This festival sounds wonderful and exactly what we like to be a part of.

GW: Thank you for speaking with Grateful Web. Congratulations on the recent album and well-deserved recognition. Have a great tour, and we look forward to seeing you in Colorado!

ST: Thanks so much. We are so excited to come back to CO, it's been too long! We've been meeting some great Colorado musicians out here. We just got the opportunity to open for the phenomenal guitarist, Trace Bundy at the Triple Door in Seattle, WA. Also we are honored to open for the legendary Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks at the Soiled Dove in Denver on May 26th!

The Shook Twins are on tour in support of their sophomore release, Window, this summer. Find dates for their Colorado jaunt below:

The Shook Twins in Colorado:

5/28 - Southern Sun - Boulder, CO
5/26 - Soiled Dove – Denver, Co (Opening for Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks)
5/27 & 5/28 - Campout for the Cause in Bond, Colorado (Both 12 PM Daytime sets)

For the Full Tour, visit: