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MP3 The Lonesome Sisters - COUNTRY: Bluegrass

Sarah Hawker winner of the 2004 Merlefest songwriting contest and Debra Clifford. Traditional lonesome mountain sounds, with sparse instrumentation and strong, distinctive high female harmonies, clawhammer banjo & fiddle.

12 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Bluegrass, COUNTRY: Traditional Country


"Crystalline harmonies and mournful tunes..." - The Boston Globe

"My listeners and I love the Lonesome Sisters music. Warm, authentic and beautifully crafted, the albums are a joy". -Bob Harris Country, BBC RADIO 2

"At Ram Radio our motto is "Listen to the Circle...Unbroken!" The Lonesome Sisters embody that spirit and we are proud to play their music". -Pam McCluskey, Ram Radio

"Sister, brother and family singing groups have long been part of the country/bluegrass scene with the Delmore, Monroe, and Stanley duos and the Carter Family being the most popular. Similar language backgrounds as well as similar genetic voice qualities have made traditional sibling harmonies a powerful blend. Sarah Hawker and Debra Clifford are the Lonesome Sisters and their voices blend seamlessly in the old style..." - Brenda Hough, Read complete review at the California Bluegrass Association, Dec 2004.

"If this CD is any indication of what they''re capable of, I don''t think that the Lonesome Sisters are going to be lonesome much longer! Their debut CD on their own Tin Halo label showcases sometimes edgy, sometimes sweet vocal duets, accompanied by their fine guitar and mandolin playing. The Sisters can flat out sing, and they have obviously worked hard at that hand-in-glove phrasing that makes duo singing so powerful. ". -Joe Newberry , Old Time Herald, Nov 2004

The Lonesome Sisters, Sarah Hawker and Debra Clifford, are known for their hard hitting high harmonies and their love of singing about tragedy and heartache in all its forms. They have performed at venues such as the Newport Folk Festival and the Kaufman Center, Merkin Hall in NYC, and played with Jesse Winchester, The Levon Helm Band, Hazel Dickens, Alice Gerrard, Laurie Lewis, Dudley Connell, Marshall Wilborn, Tony Trischka, and Barry Mitterhoff. They were also selected to perform in Fall 2005 for juried showcases at the 2005 Western Arts Alliance in Albuquerque NM, and at the Performing Arts Exchange in Memphis, Tennessee. At Merlefest 2004 they performed and won best country song in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest for Sarah''s song, "Forgiveness." There were 894 entries. Sarah''s original song "Going Home Shoes" was included in the Fall 2004 Sing Out! magazine and compilation CD, with her music & lyrics printed inside. They have recorded two CD''s on their own record label, Tin Halo Music.

This first Lonesome Sister album features the traditional lonesome mountain sounds and harmonies of Sarah Hawker and Debra Clifford. With sparse instrumentation and strong, distinctive high harmonies, they let the songs speak for themselves. Rose Sinclair of The Hearbeats plays clawhammer banjo and Chad Crumm of The Hix plays fiddle.

From The Stanley Brothers and Blind Willie Johnson, to the a cappella sounds of gospel and unaccompanied Appalachian ballads, to their own original pieces, The Lonesome Sisters honor all those who came before them.


Sarah Hawker was a winner in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest 2004. Her song "Forgiveness" won 1st place in the Country category. This song is out on a CD, The Lonesome Sisters with Riley Baugus. Sarah''s song "Going Home Shoes" was included in the Fall 2004 Sing Out! magazine and compilation CD, with her music and lyrics printed inside. Sarah learned about traditional Appalachian singing from her aunt Ginny Hawker, her uncle Tracy Schwarz, and her grandfather, Ben Hawker. Ben was recorded by the Smithsonian as one of the last of an era of Primitive Baptist singers. Sarah plays guitar and sings in The Lonesome Sisters. She lives outside of Ithaca New York.

Debra Clifford has been playing in bluegrass, country & swing bands for years, and active in the Upstate and Ithaca contra dance & Old Time scene. She also performs with Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz. Debra has played with Rounder artist Mac Benford & John Hoffmann, and has recorded a CD with the old time string band jimmyjohnnnyjoe. She plays guitar, mandolin, banjo and sings in The Lonesome Sisters. She lives in Woodstock, NY.

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