Shook Twins find new ways to excel
True story: Katelyn Shook was leaving a hockey game in Seattle when she spotted a man with a giant golden egg under his arm.
She asked him about it. He replied that a woman gave it to him, made him sign it and swear to pass it on for the next recipient to do the same.
She gladly volunteered and swore to honor the ritual.
“But there are no rules. It didn’t say when I had to pass it on,” said Katelyn Shook, one half The Shook Twins, during a telephone interview.
First, she filled the plastic egg with popcorn kernels and transformed it into a colossal piece of hand percussion and functional stage prop the band takes with them on tour.
It’s just another example of The Shook Twins’ progression to a self-proclaimed quirky-folk band since moving to Portland in 2009.
Identical twin sisters, Katelyn and Laurie Shook were an instant sensation when they arrived on the area coffeehouse scene, singing those supernatural sibling harmonies, one strumming along on the banjo, the other beatboxing loops into the mic and tweaking them on the fly.
Hailing from Portland-by-way-of-Sandpoint, the Shooks have grown to a six-piece band, with members taking turns on banjo, guitar, piano, upright bass, mandolin, glockenspiel, ukulele, djembe, mouth percussion (beatbox) and the signature giant golden egg shaker to which they are temporary stewards.
With a new side-project concept album on the way, Katelyn Shook said the band is headed in a more “Portlandy” direction, noting the addition of electronic drums to the mix. They are also experimenting in on-the-side collaborations with indie-hip-hop artists in Portland.
“We were listening to old recordings and noticed it’s losing its pop edge,” Shook said. “It’s just not as poppy the way the vocals have changed. We’ve got a telephone microphone now. That’s our Craigslist miracle. That really changes the sound. It’s not straight-up folk.”
And as for the egg, they’ve also recently converted it to mimic a kick drum sound.
“I’m hoping to one day run into the person who started this whole egg thing,” she said. “But I will pass it on, I swear.”
When, Where: 6 p.m. today for BeGin! at The Museum of Arts and Culture, 2316 W. First Ave.
Cost: Free, all ages welcome.
Local chanteuse Hannah Reader has weathered rough waters over the years but she’s always found an anchor in the weighted keys of her piano.
She was a sad kid who turned into a sort of sad teenager. After her marriage failed – when she moved from Los Angeles to Spokane – whenever her situation became dark, music was her solace.
“I was getting used to everything failing in my life,” Reader said. “I always had the piano, though. It didn’t yell at me or abandon me. It couldn’t leave and it did whatever I wanted it to.”
Reader, aka Hannah Beans, performs as a soloist as well as a part of a side project called My Pinky Has A Name, where “I play weird circus synth music” with drummer Bobby Hattenburg, she said.
“My pinky’s name is Mordecai, named after Esther’s uncle in the Bible,” she said. “We’re all so distracted by awful things that are constantly shoved into our faces and ears. I wish we could all sit back more and think. Stop being hypnotized by your phone and go sit on your porch.
“Listen to my music if it doesn’t make you too sad … Though I feel sadness sparks a lot of good things … Just don’t let it swallow you.”