Currently co-headlining a tour stemmed from mutual adoration, Shook Twins and Dustbowl Revival have long respected each other's musical talents and performances, yet only recently did the West Coast groups begin playing together. Their relationship started as many in this industry do: at a music festival. While the bands differ vastly in sound, the style between the two is familiar. This Saturday, April 21, at the Temporary they’re bringing a different kind of indie folk (if it's possible to label either band) to Willits.
The Shook Twins are, as their name suggests, identical twins sisters: Katelyn Shook on guitar and Laurie Shook on the banjo, with both on vocals. The sisters grew up in Idaho and have since rooted themselves in the thriving indie scene in Portland, Ore. Starting a musical career together at 18, the Shook Twins had a much different approach to music than most. Rather than a typical folk group, who play distinct parts, the sisters tried to blend their voices and instruments. The effect is a melodic two-piece sound, a singular vocal-and-stringed instrument rather than the actual four. Their most recent work reflects this original way of performing. While the Shook Twins have traveled across a variety of musical realms, they’ve recently come back to their unique roots, which we’ll likely hear much of on Saturday.
Since establishing the Shook Twins as a band in 2008, the two have received flattering praise from fellow musicians across genres. Langhorne Slim, another established indie folk musician, says, “The Shooks will shake you. These ladies have been keepin’ it real since the day they were born, and that was only seconds apart from one another, I think. Do yourself a favor and check ’em out. I do declare, ya won’t be sorry.”
Paired with the Shook Twins this Saturday will be Dustbowl Revival. This eight-piece roots band, who have staked their ground in the vintage Americana genre, are steadily moving toward a more modern soul and funk sound. Co-lead singer Zach Lupetin said they’ll tie into a lot of traditional folk and bluegrass forms while keeping storytelling as a top priority. Over time, they have evolved from a more traditional acoustic sound to an electric one, as seems to be the natural progression of so many bands that have preceded them.
Although the band is based in Los Angeles, their rural sounds come from a diverse membership that all found themselves in the city of dreams chasing a similar goal, like thousands of others. The eight bandmates hail from Seattle to Sweden and have found their place in LA’s vibrant roots music community.
Due to the melting-pot nature of the city, an alternative folk, country and Americana scene has blossomed, fertilized by the mix of people and cultures from across the world. This community encouraged Dustbowl Revival to share their stuff from the onset in 2008, allowing them to travel the country and play over 200 shows a year. Since then, they have developed a strong fan base in the Bay Area, D.C., Boston, both Portlands and across Colorado. It came as no surprise that Lupetin found Colorado to have some of the warmest, most attentive and welcoming audiences anywhere.
While Dustbowl Revival’s most recent album may sound like a large step away from their previous ones, the transformation was actually years in the making. According to Lupetin, “You can never tell there is a transformation until it happens to you.” Yet the storytelling element has stayed an important piece of their process throughout, especially during these divided times. The song "Debtor’s Prison," in particular, touches on the reality of young people trying to get by and stick together when things are tight, not knowing how the future is going to unfold. A core belief shared by so many musicians, Lupetin said, is that “music is a great way to bring people together and promote unity and togetherness.”