|(Photo Anna Sink/Local Spins credit)|
One of the best unsigned bands in America is a duo of 18 year old women from Traverse City, Michigan. Home of the National Cherry Festival. That is a long way from wherever current pop "role models" Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber live, but the Mitten state grows as much talent as fruit, and it has since John Lee Hooker moved up to perform for Automobile workers after the big one.
Katie Larson and Savannah Buist are recent graduates of the first singer-songwriter major program at Interlochen Center for the Arts. It is one of the most acclaimed music schools in the world, yet the Accidentals are far from snooty. They have somehow managed to retain an authenticity and heartbreaking musical pathos I equate with the school of Harry Smith and Alan Lomax. I have every reason to believe The Accidentals will achieve the level of American greats. You would think me kidding if I named a few in the sphere I think of, but then I saw the 27-Grammy Award winning Alison Krauss perform at age 18 too, and as Levon Helm once said "lightning can strike twice" after all. I have seen the Accidentals perform and felt those sparks, and if dear Levon were still here I would tell him. I am not exaggerating. The Accidentals could have owned Levon's barn stage easily, and I know that too.
The Accidentals could already be considered successful, I suppose, with FIVE HUNDRED gigs already behind them. Between them they play a dozen instruments. They sing, at times, with a perfect dissonant aching (some of which you can see in their faces as they occur in the clips here) and they support each other like hired professionals. They met at age 15 in public school, maintained their 3.9 grade points and practiced. They both come from musical families. I have chosen to include two acoustic performances here, but in performance they can rock. Their live act is frequently electric. The stage patter and presence is polished but real. They switch instruments before the song they have finished sinks in. A 45 minute set passes like a train. They already have more good originals than most hit acts, and their tastefully eccentric list of covers, well... covers the gamut. They pack performing space with a multi-generational mix any act would beg for. Their song The Silence has talon hooks, a mature mastery of dynamics and is as good as anything I've heard in a decade. The studio version is HERE and you will find the lyrics HERE. It approaches standard. If you write songs, you know what standard means.
And they will grow.
I am not producer, critic or musician, but I have seen a good two dozen of the performers in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and many of them in venues smaller than the Accidentals regularly play. I have been fortunate enough to have made a few small contacts in the music world… if my post here reaches any of them I will have done what I can, and when one day one of them says to me "why didn't you tell me" I won't have to say I didn't try.
The Accidentals website is HERE. Their Music is HERE. They have a YouTube Channel. If they play near you, and they will, see them. Thank you to critic and writer John Sinkevics for alerting me to The Accidentals