The Old-Time Herald Volume 11, Number 1

The Stairwell Sisters
By Chuck Poling
Photo: Corbin Pagter
Listen to the Stairwell Sister's "Red Gal", recorded at the 2006 Strawberry Music Festival
Download this MP3 (3.1mb zip)

Every so often you may be lucky enough to attend a musical performance where that magic thing happens between the artists and the audience. The crowd and the band start feeding off each other, creating a loop of inspiration and enthusiasm that’s like a firestorm creating its own wind. That’s exactly what happened when the Stairwell Sisters took the stage during the 2007 San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival. …

And just who are Stairwell Sisters? They are Lisa Berman (dobro/banjo/guitar), Stephanie Prausnitz (fiddle), Evie Ladin (banjo/dancing), Sue Sandlin (guitar/tipple/harmonica), and Martha Hawthorne (bass). They present a lively take on old-time music, and are equally adept at delving into a gloomy modal dirge or roaring through a frantic square dance tune. All of the Sisters sing and participate in their delightful stage patter, and in addition to Evie’s clogging and buck dancing, their act demonstrates the lively art of hambone—using nothing but your body to make music. The emphasis on rhythm routinely gets people hopping in the aisles. ….


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