The Haden Triplets Album Review: They Have Great Harmonies Covered
“I hear a voice callin’
It must be our Lord
It’s comin’ from Heaven on high”
That’s what you will think when you hear the voices of Petra, Tanya, and Rachel Haden, the triplet daughters of jazz musician Charlie Haden. In their brand new debut album from Third Man Records, The Haden Triplets have proven themselves to be great interpreters of classic country and harmony singing. Drawing on a storied catalogue of the legendary artists who put country and folk music on the map, The Haden Triplets add their own soaring beauty to both tunes that have proven themselves as harmony classics and some surprises.
The Triplets cover songs by artists such as The Carter Family, The Louvin Brothers, The Stanley Brothers, Kitty Wells, and Bill Monroe. The girl’s song choices are laudable, and they make the songs so naturally their own that my eight year old sister asked if they had written “Slowly.” To slightly digress, I wanted to point out the Brian Wilson influenced coda of “Slowly” which features a towering falsetto on top of a layer of harmonies that recalls the ending of songs like “When I Grow Up to Be a Man” or “Fun, Fun, Fun.”
Ry Cooder produces the record. His guitar work on the album successfully sounds like the guitar work on the Louvins’ albums by Chet Atkins, Paul Yandell, and Jimmy Capps. He also provides A.P. Carter’s classic “bassing in” on “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?”
While all the tracks are fantastic, I believe the standout is the cover of Bill Monroe’s “Voice From On High.” Their voices soar into the clouds of heaven. The call and response harmonies are just as effective as they have always been, and the spiritually charged lyrics infuse the song with a passion that drives it above all else.
Here’s some more information on the triplets in their own words.
“During our early life, we were surrounded by music on both sides of our family. We visited our dad’s family in Springfield, Missouri, where they taught us old country songs they used to perform on the radio as The Haden Family. Our grandparents on our mother’s side used to sing us to sleep with old Yiddish songs. Growing up, we often had music playing in the house, whether it be our mom playing Billie Holiday and Nina Simone records, or our dad playing Keith Jarrett and Ornette Coleman in the living room.
We met Ry when we played with his son Joachim, and Joachim asked him if he’d sit in for our show. Once Ry heard we were singing “Voice From On High” by Bill Monroe, he was in right away. The next day we got a call from Ry suggesting we record an album. We wrote down a collection of songs we all liked, then narrowed it down to the music that became the Haden Triplets album. These songs are rich in history, and by recording them we hope to help keep them alive.” – Tanya, Rachel & Petra Haden
So if you love that beautiful close-harmony singing that has been a staple of American music for almost a century, you absolutely can’t go wrong with The Haden Triplets new record. They are the best of the Andrews Sisters, the Kossoy Sisters, The Carter Family, and The Louvins all together. Their beauty is so immense it’s painful. This is a pure, authentic record that continues an American music tradition that will never die. Pick it up today and remind yourself why country and folk harmony singing is one of the greatest cultural gifts America can offer, and there’s no one who can give to you as gorgeously as The Haden Triplets.