We’ve loved Watson Twins ever since we first heard their otherworldly harmonies embellishing Jenny Lewis’ seminal Rabbit Fur Coat all the way back in 2006. So we’re absolutely thrilled to be exclusively premiering their new album in its entirety today on Holler.
We’re head-over-heels in love with this new record. And no, it’s not just because it’s called ‘HOLLER’.
Long before their entwined voices took them around the world, The Watson Twins grew up in the American South. The identical twin sisters sang in the church choir and listened to gospel classics and country standards. Those sounds became part of their musical foundation, connecting the siblings to their Kentucky hometown even after they relocated to Los Angeles and, years later, settled in Nashville.
Chandra and Leigh Watson are pulling at their southern roots once again with their new album, HOLLER. Recorded with their Tennessee-based touring band and produced by Grammy nominee Butch Walker, it captures them and their collaborators during a series of live-in-the-studio recording sessions.
“Recording at Butch Walker’s studio was the perfect way to capture the energy and spirit of the album,” explain the Watson Twins, “live, in one room, connecting with each other.”
“We’ve known Butch for over a decade, and we’ve worked on several records he has produced from Harry Connick Jr. to his last solo release, Glenn,” they told us. “On previous recordings we had done a lot of three-part harmonies together, so adding his voice and guitar work to the record was a natural progression and really added another dimension to the songs. This is the first time we have had a male vocalist really present on a Watson Twins album.”
“The album was recorded with our Nashville based touring band; we've been playing together for over 4 years. We feel like this is one of the key elements that makes HOLLER so different from anything else we have done. That familial connection really gave us confidence and trust that everyone was bringing their best to the recording.”
HOLLER begans with ‘Two Timin',’ a longtime staple of The Watson Twins' live show that had yet to find a home on any of their records.
"When we were opening for Jenny Lewis in 2018, people kept coming up to us and asking which album 'Two Timin'' was on," Chandra remembers. "That song is a honky-tonk jam, but it never fit on any of our records. So, we set out to create a home where it could comfortably live."
The album opener and title track, with its barroom piano solo from Thayer Sarrano and slide guitar from Steven Cooper, is a rallying cry for those hoping to enact positive change.
"We wrote it after Roe v. Wade got overturned," Chandra explains. "We were frustrated, but the song is about how we're stronger together, and how we need to keep trying. When we sing 'Holler if you hear me,' we're singing about that collective energy."
It’s a scary time for civil rights, and at a moment in history when it feels like the whole world is falling apart, here is an album that explodes with the sheer joy of being alive and staying strong in the face of adversity. You can hear how much fun they were all having when they made this record; all the hugs and the laughter. It’s exhilarating.
This isn't just a wake up call, it's a blaring snooze button that keeps going off to remind everyone that now isn't the time for sleeping. It’s a sharp nudge in the ribs to never give up and a reminder that the only way to survive is to stick together and keep fighting. It’s also the most fun we’ve had listening to a record all year. Americana has rarely sounded so life-affirming.
Chandra and Leigh even recorded their vocals simultaneously, both singers standing within arm's length of one another, matching their vowel sounds and mouth shapes while the tape rolled. HOLLER was finished in five days, a timeline that suited the album's high-spirited soul. It's an album about highs, heartaches, harmonies, and the joy of togetherness.
HOLLER is premiering exclusively on Holler below.
"There are a lot of honest imperfections here," Leigh says. "We didn't want the album to be pristine. We wanted it to be raw, organic, and authentic, like the songs themselves."
“This album really is a culmination of our experiences on the road, singing for other artists, making our own records, and growing up in music,” they explained. “We wrote this album together and really pushed each other to create a collection of songs that we feel is our strongest to date and a record we can’t wait to share!”
HOLLER is released on Bloodshot Records on June 23rd. Read our full review of the album here.