Preview: The Shook Twins – Quirky Folk Music and a Giant Golden Egg
Identical twins Katelyn and Laurie Shook of The Shook Twins, self-described “Quirky Folk” musicians, are a sight to behold—perfect (and often complex) harmonies; strong, sweet voices; and staggeringly broad instrumental talents have given the twins a growing national fan-base. On stage, their vibrant and often comical energy complements the sometimes deeply haunting nature of their music—and their goofy side is never far away. From beatboxing to high, clear operatic notes, the twins’ voices seem capable of anything.
Having grown up in Sandpoint, Idaho, the sisters re-located to Portland in 2009 after the release of their first album, You Can Have the Rest. The Shook Twins’ musical group consists of three members: upright bassist Kyle Volkman joined the sisters last spring. The three frequently recruit other talented musicians in their live performances. While Katelyn and Laurie have been singing together since age five, the idea to tour as a band wasn’t born until the twins were in college.
“Initially our dream going into college was to create our own show on the Travel Channel, and then we realized that we really hated being on TV,” Katelyn said with a laugh.
Even before college, the sisters had played guitar and knew that they loved singing together.
“We just started playing music together at home a lot, and had our first gig [in Virginia]. We made $300 and it was really fun, and we just thought, we could totally do this.”
It doesn’t hurt that the twins are musically inclined by nature and that their voices harmonize with astonishing clarity—and their signature golden egg is pretty neat, too. Of all the musical instruments the sisters incorporate into their shows—guitar, banjo, ocarina flute, upright bass, mandolin, tambourine, face drum (beatbox), telephone microphone, glockenspiel, ukulele, and djembe—that huge golden egg may be the most unique.
“We were in Seattle seeing our friend’s band play, and there was this guy leaning up against the wall with this giant golden egg under his arm,” explained Katelyn. “We kept wondering, ‘What’s the deal with the egg,’ because nobody else seemed interested at all that this guy was just standing there with this giant egg.”
When questioned about the nature and origin of his giant egg, the stranger replied, “I dunno, some lady said I had to sign it and pass it on to somebody.”
The egg stuck with the girls, who had originally intended to sign it and pass it on again. Feeding popcorn kernels into a tiny hole in the egg, Laurie turned it into the band’s signature giant shaker that the twins use in live performances.
“It’s kind of become our symbol, so we can’t give it away quite yet,” joked Katelyn.
This winter, Katelyn and Laurie plan on touring less and writing more—they’re going to start recording a new album to be released next year. The uniquely down-to-earth and always entertaining Shook Twins will be playing live at Corvallis’ Majestic Theatre on Friday, Sept. 14th at 7:30 p.m.—don’t miss it!