Meet the Mister Sister Trio
A Google search for "Mister Sister" generates a curious combination of links: a classic rock band based in Central Illinois, an adult fetish shop in Rhode Island, and an episode of "Ugly Betty."
But with a bit of digging, you’ll unearth the website for the Park City version of Mister Sister, an acoustic folk rock trio consisting of two vocally talented siblings and, as he puts it, "one lucky pro."
Dan Hall, Nina Oyler and Brady Chavez have been playing together for three years. The group recently released its debut album, "Now We Know," and on Sunday, Jan. 10, they’ll host a CD release party at The Spur Bar & Grill from 6 until 9 p.m.
Hall and Oyler first collaborated about seven years ago when she joined longtime Park City group the Motherlode Canyon Band. In 2006, Oyler invited her younger sister, Chavez, to sing with her and Hall.
"It was kind of an experiment to see what it was like, and it turned into something more," says Chavez. "We enjoyed it and it sounded good, so we started to think, ‘Yeah, this could work.’"
Before joining Motherlode, Oyler says she was very shy about singing in public. "I rarely sang in front of anyone," she says. However, singing had always been a part of her family. Oyler (maiden name: Daley) and her four sisters were born and raised in Park City. "We were always singing all of us," she recalls.
Chavez was the sister best known for her voice and was often solicited to sing at funerals. "When Nina got into Motherlode, she was always singing for weddings and things like that, so I was funeral singer and she was the wedding singer," Chavez laughs.
Hall, who grew up in various states around the Rocky Mountains, brought years of performance experience to the mix. He immediately recognized the trio’s potential. "This is a real melding of styles and voices," he says.
The key is being able to focus solely on vocals. Hall plays the acoustic guitar and the sisters occasionally play hand percussion, but the main attraction is the three-part harmony.
"We’re all about preserving the three-part harmony in music," says Hall. "This kind of music is in our hearts and it’s really special to sing with people who feel the same way about it as you do."
The trio started out playing covers from their favorite artists, ranging from Peter Paul and Mary to the Jets. Eventually, each member started writing original material, giving their repertoire a variety of song types and perspectives.
The new CD, named after a song the sisters’ grandfather wrote for their grandmother, contains six originals and four covers, including "I’ll Be" from the Goo Goo Dolls, Frank Sinatra’s "Sentimental Journey" and the classic folk tune "Oh Susanna." "We think they represent our sound really well," says Hall.
The group chose to do all of the recording, engineering, mastering, mixing and artwork for the album themselves. It may have taken longer than if they hired producers, but it gave them full creative liberties.
Even without the backing instruments that Oyler is used to singing with, she says that Mister Sister’s sound is hardly lacking. "We’re able to be really creative and work the music so that it’s still a full sound, but with vocals," she explains. "I love that."
The sisters have found that working together is easier than collaborating with others. "It’s really fun to sing with a sibling," Oyler says. "It makes us feel really comfortable critiquing each other and talking to each other."
Hall is pretty pleased with the arrangement, too. "How often do you get to play with sisters? It’s a real treat," he says.
Mister Sister is slated to play Thursday evenings at Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge throughout the winter. The group also has gigs lined up in Salt Lake City and hopes to participate in various festivals around the region.
For more information about the band or to purchase a copy of "Now We Know," visit http://mistersistertrio.com .
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