Hearing Aide: Alison and Zoë ‘Home Is…’

Sister songwriters Alison and Zoë have assembled a handful of heartfelt folk songs for their debut Ep Home Is… The five song collection released Aug. 19, exudes a nostalgic sentimentality fit to be wrapped in brown paper and tenderly tied together with twine. Their music is less about perfecting instrumentation or inventing a new sound, instead focusing on shaping a familiarity and sharing honest, human stories to connect with listeners. The album was recorded, mixed, & mastered by Jeremy Johnson at Subcat StudiosRyan B. Curtis cultivated the design and layout of the album cover and CD art, using a photo provided by Elisha Stasko.

Alison and Zoë’s songs act as melodic vehicles, taking the listener on a journey of relatable experience. As is often the case with traditional folk music, various elemental strands are weaved into their lyrics, rooted in the sisters’ adventures or borrowed from other folk songs gathered during their travels through Ireland and Great Britain.  The album is an audible patchwork quilt of memories.

“Following That Star” showcases Alison’s rich, sturdy voice with support from Zoë’s delicate harmonizations, accompanied by simple guitar picking.  Alison sings: “Our father’s mother said one day she’d get discovered/ And you know they say she sang just like me/ But she crossed to the other side and so she passed it down the line/ Now generations live vicariously through me.” The song centers on the theme of following a star, where the star could be a metaphor for a life path or the intuition to help guide someone down a particular life path. This metaphor would ring true for Alison and Zoë, whose song writing has become an intimately important foothold grounding them to their own individual yet entwined life paths.

The title track “Home Is…” begins with a straightforward guitar rhythm before both sisters chime in. They harmonize about singing together on a train, adding a meta layer to a song seeking to  interpret the concept of home. Their lyrics suggest home not as a structural entity, but rather a feeling that can manifest through engaging with others, even in faraway landscapes. “This Song I Wrote” offers the notion of music as a healing mechanism. Alison and Zoë sing in unison: “I saved my marriage with this song I wrote/ I plucked the words out of my chest and I said darlin’ that’s the best I can do for you/ Then we got drunk on honesty and we fell back towards each other/ Remembering all the ways we fell in love in the first place.” The tender lyrics dance through a spectrum of emotions, intimately touching on feelings of love and heartache so accessibly that any listener can identify in some way.

Key Tracks: Following That Star, Home Is…, This Song I Wrote