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The Sweetback Sisters


Sweetback Sisters

Sweetback Sisters

© Gisele Florez

Description of the Sweetback Sisters' Music:

Americana, singer-songwriters


The Sweetback Sisters embody some of the energy of great family bands - from the Carter Family to the Louvin Brothers, to the Waifs. For their fluid, intuitive style, they may also be of interest to fans of Shawn Colvin, Lucinda Williams, Nickel Creek, and Hot Club of Cowtown.

Sweetback Sisters Lineup:

Peter Bitenc - bass
Zara Bode - vocals, guitar
Ross Bellenoit - guitar, banjo, triangle
Jesse Milnes - guitar, fiddle, vocals
Emily Miller - vocals, fiddle
Stefan Amidon - drums, vocals

Purchase/Download Sweetback Sisters MP3s:

Recommended Sweetback Sisters CDs:

Chicken Ain't Chicken (Signature Sounds, 2009) compare prices

Looking for a Fight (Signature Sounds, 2011) compare prices

Sweetback Sisters Biography:

Though there are two women in the Sweetback Sisters, they aren't actually sisters, and the boys in the band just as frequently sing lead vocals. Their background as a band is as deeply rooted in jazz as it is folk and traditional country music, and they got started when Bode and Miller started singing traditional country songs together in their Brooklyn apartments.

Miller had grown up singing harmonies with her mother, focusing on old country songs. Miller's mother had been in a San Francisco band called the Any Old Time String Band, and raised Miller with a strong respect for traditional music. She grew up in Lawrence, KS, but grew up traveling from Hong Kong to Toronto, to Chicago. Her family had a band together (mother on fiddle, father on banjo, brother on drums, and Miller fiddleticks; everyone sang).

Bode grew up in San Francisco, also the child of performers. Both parents were in a Moroccan band. She and her family eventually moved to Northampton, Mass., where she continued her musical education and got involved with local theater.

After meeting on tour with a choir, the two women wound up living near each other in Brooklyn, and singing together just for the fun of it. Eventually the collaboration led to gigs, the formation of a band, and a 2007 demo Bang! which garnered attention and gained the band some traction. Their first full-length, Chicken Ain't Chicken was released in 2009 on Massachusetts-based label Signature Sounds, followed by 2011's Looking for a Fight.

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