“I love the harmonies of the Shook Twins, the dreamlike songs that seem somehow permeated by the American Folk tradition, without actually being part of it. They make music that twines through your soul the way vines cover an abandoned shack in the woods.” – Neil Gaiman, New York Times – Best-Selling Author
“The Portland, Ore., folk group is ready to rattle the music world with its ‘What We Do’ album.” – USA Today
“The Shook Twins have sass and spunk to spare! Their live show is tons of fun to behold.” – Laura Veirs
“The Shooks will Shake you. These ladies have been keepin’ it real since the day they were born and that was only seconds apart from one another I think. Do yourself a favor and check ’em out. I do declare, ya won’t be sorry.” – Langhorne Slim
“The Shook Twins put on a heck of a show. Keep your eyes on these folks. I’m excited to hear what they do next.” – Tucker Martine
“A unique, personal music that lights up the stage with its joy and enthusiasm.” – Mason Jennings
Everybody in your life will write his or her own chapter in your story. Take a step back, and you’ll see the influence of your loved ones, mentors, and friends in your decisions. Shook Twins refer to these folks in the title of their fourth album, Some Good Lives. Throughout fourteen tracks, the duo—identical twin sisters Katelyn Shook [vocals, guitar] and Laurie Shook [banjo, vocals]—pay homage to everyone from a late grandpa and godfather to Bernie Sanders.
“We realized there was a theme,” Katelyn reveals. “Even though our minds are mostly on the women of today and wanting the monarchy to rise up, we have several men in our lives who have been such positive forces. We wanted to thank them and honor the good guys who showed us the beauty in this crazy world we live in. So, it’s an album for Some Good Lives that have crossed paths with ours—and to them, we are grateful.”
Laurie agrees, “It’s also an acknowledgment of our thankfulness of the good life that we get to live.”
However, the pair derived their own strength from these relationships. Over the course of three full-length releases and a handful of EPs since 2008, acclaim would come by way of everyone from USA Today and Baeble Music to Langhorne Slim, The Lumineers, Mason Jennings, and iconic best-selling author Neil Gaiman who enthusiastically decreed, “They make music that twines through your soul the way vines cover an abandoned shack in the woods.” Beyond gigs with the likes of Gregory Alan Isakov and Ani DiFranco, they captivated crowds at High Sierra Music Festival, Lightning In A Bottle, Bumbershoot, Hulaween, Summer Camp Music Festival, and Northwest String Summit, to name a few.
During 2016, they planted the seeds for what would become Some Good Lives by thinking bigger. The girls intermittently recorded at Hallowed Halls in Portland, OR. Within this old library building, “which feels full of stories,” they tapped into palpable energy like never before, locking into a groove inside of the spacious, reverberant live room. Moreover, the full band—Barra Brown [drums], Sydney Nash [bass], and Niko Slice [guitar, mandolin]—expanded the sonic palette.
“It took us a long time to find the band that we wanted to record these songs with and for the songs to fully mature,” admits Laurie. “Once Barra, Sydney, and Niko joined us, we really started to explore what our music could be. These amazing players helped us realize that we could be more than just ‘folk pop’. We started adding other genres to the word like ‘disco,’ ‘psychedelic,’ ‘funk,’ and ‘soul.’ We really honed in on a new sound.”
They initially teased that evolution with the single “Safe.” Its airy acoustic guitar and delicate harmonies materialize as a heartfelt and hypnotic rumination on love. The track quickly surpassed 1 million Spotify streams and stoked excitement among audiences for the eventual arrival of Some Good Lives.
“‘Safe’ was written up at a cabin in the woods,” recalls Katelyn. “I had the line ‘a love that feels safe’ in my mind for a while. That’s the only kind of love truly possible and healthy when you’re touring and away from your person all the time. You feel like you can trust it, and it’s not going to change within either of you—no matter how long and far you are away from each other.”
“I was struggling to find that kind of love at the time, and Katelyn had this other perspective,” adds Laurie. “It’s my breakup song my sister wrote for me,” she laughs.
Elsewhere, opener “What Have We Done” struts forward on funky tambourine and boisterous horns before culminating on the shuddering soulful chant, “My God, what have we done?” Inspired by “feeling the Bern,” the track serves as a “wake-up-and-do better social commentary to fire people up.” Meanwhile, the dreamy “Figure It Out” sways from vivid verses into a catchy and confessional hook.
“To me, it’s about being lost and trying to figure ‘it’ out over and over again,” continues Katelyn. “We’re always going to be trying to figure things out, and that’s okay.”
The intimate “Grandpa Piano” draws on 1992 tapes of the girls’ grandpa performing on a grand piano during the final weeks of his life. Such moments thematically thread together the record, following its concept.
Katelyn adds, “You can hear our grandma, uncle, and godfather who have all passed on speaking in those clips too. These are little glimpses of those lives that we are honoring. I knew it was the perfect thing to add and complete the theme.”
Meanwhile, the album concludes on “Dog Beach”—a song penned by their godfather Ted as his only original composition in 1989. Preserving the raw spirit, Shook Twins tracked their background vocals over the initial tape 28 years after the initial recording. As Ted passed away recently, the song possessed a special place in their hearts.
“It’s like our village anthem in a way,” says Katelyn. “We made him sing it, and we’d all sing the responses at every campfire we had growing up.”
In the end, Shook Twins do Some Good Lives justice by reaching new heights themselves as musicians, lyricists, artists, and women.
“I hope people will hear this music as part of the soundtrack to their lives,” Laurie leaves off. “I hope it makes them feel joy, relaxation, or makes them want to dance a little. I hope they’re satisfied with the way we captured these songs.”
“I want them to feel the love that emanates from the songs: the love of the sounds we made and the love of the people we are honoring through them,” concludes Katelyn.
The Story of the Golden Egg
It was June 10, 2010 I was standing outside of a Hockey show in Seattle. There Leaning against the brick wall was a young man with A giant golden EGG under his arm. I was immediately intrigued and drawn towards it. "What's with the golden EGG?" I asked."Don't know some lady just told me to sign it and then pass it onto the next person." He said. I knew I was the next person. "Pass it to me then!" He signed it first. AR Moore, a fresh military man. Then I Signed it, hugged it and took it home! The EGG stayed there in my house sitting silently and magically for a year.
One day I said out loud, " what if it was a giant Golden EGG shaker?" So I then proceeded to sit on the couch for hours putting popcorn in the tiny popcorn sized hole at the top of EGG! Now she is musical! I began shaking the EGG live during shows for our song toll-free.
Then I said out loud "what if it was a drum?" So I then stuck a sticky contact Mic on The outside of the egg and tapped the mic to create kick drum sound, Then slapped the side to create a rimshot sound. I fell even more in love with the EGG over the next two years of playing Music together.
I began wishing out loud that I could meet the person who started this EGG. Soon enough my wish came true. We played the Tractor Tavern in Seattle and the next day we got an email from a very excited Kipp Gallagher. This is his story:
"Dear Shook Twins,
You have the EGG!!!!!!!!!!! Holy shit!!! This is amazing!!!
I can't believe this! You see, the Egg used to be with me.
I saw you at the Tractor Tavern last night for the first time. You gals were rockin‘ out, quite nicely if I do say, and I noticed the EGG. I was filled with curiosity and doubt. Could it be the real one? THE Golden EGG?!??! I should have stayed around to ask you about it. Sorry!
Then, when I got home I looked on your website and saw it. I could see my friend’s signature (Katy Heinz, if you want verification). I have been thinking about this all day. You should also be able to find signatures of Kipp A Gallagher(me), Clara Ganey, and Katie Farden.
Did you know that the EGG is magical? Well it is. It definitely is. And you having it is further proof, as is my story.
It was a Thursday, May 5th 2008 when the EGG came to us. We were walking on Broadway on our way to Dick's Burgers and saw a man across the street. This man was about six and a half feet tall and dressed in all purple like some sort of hipster version of the Mad Hatter and under his arm what appeared to be a large golden EGG. We were immediately drawn to it. It was amazing, as you very well know. The man with the EGG crossed our path. He was kind of awkward and just stopped before us, not saying a word.
Katy was weirded out and decided to break the tension saying, “That’s a nice EGG you've got there.” “Thank you.” he replied, “Did you know it is a magical golden EGG?” We were not sure to be amazed or freaked out at this point. “Really?” I said to the man in purple. “Yes, It grants wishes.” He said, quite frankly. Then he asked, “would you like to make a wish?” How could we say no at this point?
He took the EGG and handed it to us, telling us to hold it together. He then asked us to close our eyes and make a wish. As our eyes were closed he told us to concentrate on the wish, He then put his arms around Katy and Me and embraced the two of us, leaving the EGG in the center of us asking us to focus harder. After a few moments, he let go and just walked away, without saying another word, leaving Katy and Me holding that beautiful golden orb. I couldn't believe what happened, and neither could Katy. We were all so excited and didn't know what to do with ourselves. We ran home, singing, dancing, and cheering with our newfound friend, the EGG.
When we got home, I realized, looking at the EGG that the EGG really was magical. You see, the wish that I asked for on that fateful night was that we would be able to keep the EGG. My wish had come true. We vowed that from that day that the EGG should not belong to any one of us. We would have joint custody and share the EGG. Over the next two years the EGG would have many more adventures with us. It was the centerpiece to fancy dinners, the mascot at parties, an instrument at concerts (funny how fate hurts), the main plot point to a play at a children’s summer camp, and so much more. We took it everywhere; it was basically a family member.
At the end of our senior year of college Katy, Katie, Clara and I decided that it was time to let the EGG go. We had been blessed by it for a little more than two years. We would all be going different places, and it was not right that one person should maintain custody of our beloved EGG. So, as it was in the beginning, we decided on a Thursday night in June to get drinks and go to Dick’s in order to set the EGG free properly.
The EGG had been bare at that point. It was golden, glorious, and amazing. We wanted to leave part of us with the EGG because it had had such an impact on our lives. We decided to sign it. We went out that night and vowed that it should only go to someone that was worthy. We found this man; he was alone and told us that he w as a sailor. He was drawn to the EGG and asked us about it. We told him our story and he was enthralled. We had found the EGG’s next owner. We then asked him to make a wish, held him, told him to treat the EGG well, and to pass it on to the next person when he was ready. It was heartbreaking, but the right thing to do.
I did not see the EGG again, until last night, and you were throwing it in the air with all of its glory. I was beside myself with excitement to know more about the magical journey of this beautiful EGG."
We met Kipp, Clara, Katy, and Katie at a show on Bainbridge Island. We told the story of the egg's journey to the audience that night. At the end of the show a lady came up and told us about A performance art group in Seattle called ooLala! Here is an amazing story of Mr Anderson who also found magic in a golden Egg!
Soon After I learned about Mr. Anderson's story Kipp also emailed me About this OoLala performance artist. Her name Is Lucia Neare and here is the email that she sent us:
"Dear Laurie, Katelyn, and Kipp,
A friend just shared with me the beautiful stories of your experiences with the Golden EGG!
So WONDERFUL! I am thrilled to know the EGG is having such a grand and beautiful adventure!! And am so honored that you all are resonating with the magic and love with which I gave life to the eggs. It means the world to me to learn that The Gift of the EGG continues-- and that so much inspiration, celebration, and friendship are being created in its golden glow. It is the intention of my art that as it goes into the community, the blessings continue to expand.
There are many stories to share, dear ones! And I hope I get to meet you some day.
In the meantime, I would love to share a bit about the birth of the Eggs (your EGG has many sisters!)--and the magical day in which they were gifted into the world. Here is a link to my website gallery: http://www.lucianeare.org/gallery.htm -If you scroll down, you'll see some images and video from Ooo La La.
Coincidently, I have received a number of stories about the other Golden Eggs we gifted in 2008, and I am currently at work on creating a visual and anecdotal anthology of stories about the Golden Eggs, the alchemy of gift-giving, and the power of wishing. I would love, love, love to include your stories as part of the landscape of this wider magic. Might you be willing to participate?
About the Mad Hatter: Sounds like Kipp & Friends received the EGG four days after our performance, Ooo La La! A lot of Eggs were on the move during those days, and it's not surprising that the EGG was drawn to a purple hatter. Maybe he was at Ooo La La--The Lindy-hopping Bakers were the only ones to to give away eggs, though 3 eggs were also stolen--there's a very long story there. Made me so happy that people loved the eggs enough to steal them. As I mentioned in my last note, a lot of wishes, blessings, and sweet thoughts accompanied the creation of the EGGs--along with the songs I sang to each of them. Such lovely days!
I am sending many golden wishes to you all!! Thank you for your great care of the EGG, for being such glorious magic-makers, and for bringing so much beauty into the world! Please give the EGG a hug and a kiss from me.
Long live the Golden EGG!
it shall continue on its journey, it will be passed. i believe i will know when it is the right thing to do. Until then, it shall be musical!