Reviews - 'Songs I'm Singing with Me'
'Trad and Now' Edition 125. Dec, 2017 ~ Review by Graham Blackley
On this entrancing album, twin sisters Alanna and Alicia Egan pay a heartfelt tribute to their friend, the talented, yet obscure, Australian folk singer, John Beavis, by skilfully interpreting nine of his songs. Although Beavis performed at the Port Fairy Folk Festival in the 1980's, his work is perhaps unknown to the majority of music fans, so it's exciting to hear these moving songs being brought into the light by Alanna, Alicia and their excellent band. Highlights of the album include: the bright and playful vibe and jaunty rhythm that characterises the breezy 'Mockingbird Hill'; the aching beauty and palpable sense of yearning that infuses the memorable 'Bird in the Hand'; the evocative imagery conjured by the poetic lyrics of the catchy 'Fly Like a Bird', and the naked power of the sparse yet potent 'Listen' which showcases Alanna and Alicia's assured and mesmerising vocals. On this intriguing and rewarding album, Alanna and Alicia have delivered an inspired and respectful tribute to a songwriter whose work deserves to be celebrated.
'Songs I'm Singing with Me' ~ Review by Jamie McKew, Director, Port Fairy Folk Festival ( 1977 - 2016)
Alanna and Alicia have been in Brunswick (Victoria) studios, Thirty Mill and Audrey, cooking up another fine album, Songs I’m Singing With Me. Here we have the perfect collusion of beautiful singing – the twin sister voices locked in harmony with the inspired songwriting from the pen and guitar of John Beavis. This delicious album is an absorbing tribute to John. It makes great company for a wintery day or for embracing the summer breezes – the music of life’s seasons.
Here is the back story. John Beavis’ appearances emerged at various clubs, venues and festivals in the 1980s – Troubadour, Port Fairy, One-C-One, Maldon – and were eagerly attended as the word spread. The human mind can be willed to create great art, beautiful words and exquisite songs. John Beavis was such a writer and a growing audience flocked to hear his fine works; to meet the poet behind the pen.
The album is all the more special and poignant as it underscores the healing power that music plays in the lives of all of us. For many if not all, it is as essential as the air we breathe. No-one can breeze through life without serious challenges to well-being. John’s have been in the hills and valleys of mental health, prompting a step away from the stage to nurture his musical gifts behind the scenes. The twins too have triumphed over their own storms. This lovely album holds that story. The music they have created together carries them safely home. You can really feel the love in the mix.
As children by a Bendigo fireside, Alanna and Alicia listened to John singing with their parents, Michael and Maudee Egan. They too had been fine folk singers, nurturing the ‘hand-me-down way’ of folk music. John was the first real songwriter the twins had met and the concept of actually writing songs was a stunning revelation. Years later John visited the twins, by now folk singers, to present them with a guitar “insisting he must pass the torch to a new generation of songwriters. We grew up on his songs. We grew into his songs.” Needless to say, John continues to support and inspire.
The songs on this album will be known well to John Beavis fans and include ‘Time Was’, ‘Love’s Fools’, ‘Bird in the Hand’ and ‘Fly Like a Bird’. Enda Kenny sings on ‘The Maritime’ while a band of seven accompanies the twins. Together they have created a beautifully rounded album which makes for a thoroughly satisfying listen, be it the car, lounge or a plugged in ramble by the river – maybe with a Bendigo Shiraz or a “bird in the hand”. (He said it!)
Songs I’m Singing With Me is an inspired tribute to the muse of John Beavis. It is a musical gift of thanks to him most of all, but also to their parents and all supporters along the way. The beautiful picture of John Beavis, taken at the Troubadour in 1980, is just one of many excellent reasons to become a fan! The album is highly recommended and fans will be rewarded to discover the other works by the very talented Alanna & Alicia. Alanna and Alicia - Facebook
Alanna and Alicia's stunningly beautiful voices blended harmonically together like a studio overdub as they weaved their way through a wonderfully varied selection of great songs, many of them original, accompanied by four highly accomplished musicians. Unquestionably one of the best concerts we’ve had here in Humph Hall since we began over nine years ago!
Wayne Richmond, Humph Hall, September 2018
'deliciously idiosyncratic and saucy songs….wry, frank observations of life and love……quality quirky lyrics ….delivered with verve and the kind of close harmonies you’d expect from sisters….consummate backing…’
Tony Hillier, Rhythms magazine.
'Together the pair are mesmerising with their folksy, bluesy harmonies and musical intuition. Their soulful, knowing lyrics seem to resonate with listeners'.
Lauren Mitchell Arts writer, Bendigo Weekly
'In concert Alanna and Alicia are entertaining and lively characters with an unpredictable, unscripted natural humour inspired by close observations and wry story telling. They are brimming with talent, a free spirit and endearing charm. By any assessment they are shaping up for a very significant, even huge future. It would not surprise me if they ended up on any stage in the world.’
Jamie McKew, Festival Director Port Fairy Folk Festival, June, 2015
Alanna and Alicia graced the stage of our lounge room with elegance, professionalism and a huge dose of talent. They performed with Damian Neil (guitar) and Silas Palmer (fiddle and keyboards) to a packed room. We were delighted with the whole presentation. The silky voices of the twins harmonised so beautifully and the soaring instrumental solos complemented the vocals in an emotional and touching way. We have no hesitation in recommending other house concert venues to approach the band for a similar treat. After the show, the feedback we got was fabulous. It was a pleasure hosting Alanna and Alicia and we will make it our business to catch them at other gigs whenever we can.
Fred de Munk, Healesville
‘They were cheeky, adventurous, funny and commanding. They are a joy and a must see for anyone who thinks, listens, laughs and sings.’ Mel Robertson, Melbourne Folk Club
They spin heartfelt lyrics with toe tapping tunes such as ‘When You Come Back’ with a truthful earnestness. There is an honest and unaffected beauty about their folk – jazz style and sweet, harmonious vocals.
Anna Rodway, Herald Sun.
Alanna & Alicia….beautiful singers, stunning harmonies, fantastic songwriters with one of the best set of accompanist musicians you’re ever likely to hear. Together, Alanna and Alicia have been THE big new act at folk festivals across Australia for the past two years. A touch of jazz, a drop of folk, a bit of the Everly Brothers and the McGarrigal Sisters lurking round there, a lot of special magic in their performance.
Michael Fine, president Troubadour Central Coast Folk Club.
The way their voices blend together is uncanny. It reminds me of the sound that you get when a singer harmonises with themself on a recording using multi-tracking techniques yet we are hearing it 'live'! And of course their sense of humour and stage presence combined with their remarkable musical talents and those of their band, adds up to a very enjoyable show indeed!
Wayne Richmond, Humph Hall.
‘Alanna and Alicia Egan’s songs are timeless and delivered from the heart, a rare trait for singer/songwriters in this day and age. ’
(Marcello Lo Ricco, LSS Productions)
‘Twin sisters Alanna & Alicia Egan kicked off the night ~ sultry sounds with a jazz twist was a real crowd pleaser….a perfect start to a perfect evening.’
Steve Kendall, Bendigo Weekly , review of ‘Summer in the Parks’.
‘They put on a great show – lyrically very inspiring and they are right on the edge of where all lyricists aim to be.’
Graham Dodsworth, singer/songwriter, Melbourne Folk Club.
‘…..those seeking some exquisitely folk tinged material were treated to the sublime performances of Alanna and Alicia…’
Mike Griffin, reviewer, Bendigo Blues & Roots Festival, ‘bentertained’, Bendigo Weekly
Get Shot magazine August, 2013
Alanna & Alicia ~ 'Twinlines'
Review by Regi Su
The release of Alanna and Alicia’s album ‘Twinlines’ in March earlier this year is part of an evergrowing career of the band Alanna and Alicia.
Since their debut album in 2006 , the original singer- songwriters have attended countless folk and jazz festivals and their songwriting has received considerable recognition, winning awards at several national festivals. 'Twinlines’ is no exception and stands testament to their professionalism and creative flair as a unit. When I listened to their album in play order I was amazed at their versatility and breadth of talent. While the opening song ‘Sister Blister’ is a light, whimsical, comedic piece, the songs that follow are pure jazz, a professional smooth jazz.
The album really sounds like a mix of what they know they are great at and, what they find fun and amusing; one is because they can, the other is because they want to. I have no issue with this; both approaches illuminate with passion and exude talent – it is evident the ladies really love what they do.
Their third album, ‘Twinlines’ features ten original songs which
showcase their incredible versatility across genres. In my opinion, their voices are strong, sultry and smooth, just as a jazz voice should be and the fact that they are identical twins with identical voices, helps create some of the most subtle harmonies, with brilliance like liquid gold. In this particular element, they have voices that sound a bit like Zooey Deschanel and Grace Knight.
When singing folk-jazz, like ‘The Waltz of the Last Lover’ and 'Fly Like a Bird’, their voices become nothing but silken smoothness, feathery whispers, then waves of loud laughter, in a sing-song fashion.
I prefer these essential jazz-blues songs, rather than some of their other original tunes like ‘Sister Blister’ and ‘Double Trouble’. Songs like these are riddled with humour in a comedy-cabaret setting and they really highlight the twins’ personalities.
They have a great skill in being able to articulate and tell a story through their lyrics, and the sound of the band is wonderfully complimentary to their voices. I love the purity of their voices and I think that the tunes where they simply sing with perhaps, one accompaniment, are the songs which are able to create feeling, to generate a connection with their audience. Just as their voices can be deep and jazz-like, so too can their connection to the audience be deep. They have such wonderful stand-alone voices.
Review by Tony Hillier ~ Rhythms Magazine, 2010
ALANNA & ALICIA
‘Two in a Book’
Alanna & Alicia Egan are singing twin siblings from Melbourne who twist folk, ragtime, blues, jazz and other roots styles into their own deliciously idiosyncratic and saucy songs. Two in a Book offers some wry and frank – if sometimes verbose – observations on love and life, from a twenties to thirties demograpghic. That their originals sit comfortably beside an interesting interpretation of Joni Mitchell’s ‘All I Want’ – the set’s sole cover – is testimony to the quality and quirky nature of their words and melodies. Their lyrics are delivered with verve and the kind of close harmonies you’d expect of sisters, to consummate backing from the likes of guitarists Andy and Peter Baylor and multi instrumentalist Amy Bennett (piano, viola and violin).
Sunday Herald Sun May 30th, 2010
Review by Anna Rodway
Alanna & Alicia’s playfully witty ‘Two in a Book’ is the second outing for the Melbourne twins. They spin heartfelt lyrics with toe tapping tunes such as ‘When You Come Back’ with a truthful earnestness. There is an honest and unaffected beauty about their folk – jazz style and sweet, harmonious vocals.
‘Big White Dresses’ speaks of ‘Rathdowne St cafes’ and St Vincent’s Hospital, adding to the album a relatable and quaint charm. ‘Little Bitter Song’ is an amusing glimpse into the frenzied world of songwriting and “All I Want’ is a different take on Joni Mitchell’s tune.
Each ditty is masterfully composed, with Amy Bennett’s haunting violin making an aesthetically pleasing album.
File Between : The Waifs, The Indigo Girls