It’s not every day that a new duet comes along and blows my socks off, but Sister Tree has done that and more. This amazing duo consists of Kerri Joy on Fiddle and vocals and Dee Brust on Guitar, Mandolin, and Vocals and they specialize in Celtic and American Folk Music. While these ladies are not sisters in blood, they are definitely sisters in music. Their voices are distinct enough to add a unique quality to their solos, but blend so beautifully, you can understand why they chose the name of their band the way they did. Musically speaking, American folk music descended from the Scots/Irish who peopled the mountains and hills of Appalachia. But in another sense, they are sister trees as well, as they are both living traditions being added to and explored by folk music enthusiasts everywhere.
Music is music, no matter the style, it’s just a marketing approach that pigeon holes different songs into different categories. I love both the Celtic and American Folk Music, and I love listening to both together. It’s an organic way to experience music, much like a music circle. In most music circles, people choose something to respond to what was just played, it can be magic the way the different songs flow together. With their sets, Sister Tree invokes an atmosphere of possibility, so you’re not sure where they are going next, but where they take you is always delightful.
One thing is never ending, their joy in the music itself shines through. They really appreciate their fans, and always have a smile waiting for you. As a beginning guitar player, I was watching Dee closely, trying to follow what she was doing. During the second set she mentioned that she was playing in an alternate tuning: DADGAD, which is common in both Celtic and American Folk music. It’s on my list of things to learn for sure, and I really appreciate that she mentioned that for the musicians in the audience. That’s a characteristic of a great folk musician, to share not only the music, but how the music is made so the next person can learn the song and carry it forward.
Now I have their CD, so I will play it often for pleasure and inspiration, and I will try and catch as many live shows of theirs that I can. They are simply two of the best Folk musicians in Minnesota right now, so go out and see Sister Tree for yourself, you’ll be glad you did.