You Don't Own Me Anymore

The Secret Sisters

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You Don't Own Me Anymore Review

by James Christopher Monger

The result of a tumultuous couple of years that saw sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers dropped from their label and sued by their manager, You Don't Own Me Anymore dispenses with some of the retro pastiche of their two previous outings in favor of a more contemporary, though no less timeless-sounding approach. Produced with genuine affection by Brandi Carlile, the 12-track set is a marvel of quiet grandeur and steely Southern pragmatism. Anchored by the Rogers' impeccable harmonies, which invoke the sibling alchemy of the Louvins, Everlys, Kossoys, and Carters, You Don't Own Me Anymore begins strong with the languid "Tennessee River Runs Low," a Southern gothic-infused ode to the stretch of river that runs through their Northern Alabama homeland. The melody is dark and deep, and the gospel feel palpable, suggesting the Andrews Sisters' "Bei Mir Bist Du Shein" by way of O Brother, Where Art Thou? Elsewhere, the sprightly "He's Fine" and the feisty, garage-hewn title track find mirth in misery, and a lovely guitar- and cello-accompanied take on Paul Simon's "Kathy's Song" proves the perfect vehicle for the siblings' close harmonic acuity. A brawny union of mountain folk and country-rock that takes the antagonist's point of view, the inverted murder ballad "Mississippi," co-written with Carlile, impresses as well, but it's the album's quieter moments that land the biggest punches. "To All the Girls Who Cry" and "Flee as a Bird," the former a swooning sonic hug that sounds like Patsy Cline and Mary Ford re-imagining Ricky Nelson's "Lonesome Town," and the latter an unvarnished rendition of South Carolina poet Mary S. B. Shindler's beautiful hymn, feel both otherworldly and familiar, like setting eyes on the first firefly of summer. However rooted in the past they may sound, the Secret Sisters ultimately connect on such an intimate level that they render any measure of time extraneous.

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