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Wednesday, January 18,2012

The sound of Chenille

The Sisters shine in ´Backstage Pass´ spotlight

by Robert Sancrainte

It doesn’t take long to realize the Chenille Sisters’ appearance on the season opener of “Backstage Pass” (which premieres Jan. 19) is going to be an hour of non-stop entertainment.

The three members, led by the talented and hilarious Grace Morand, alternate between heartfelt ballads and more comedic fare. Quirky tunes like “Regretting What I Said” and “NaCl” are silly enough that they grab your attention, but none of these lighthearted ditties distract from showcasing the singers’ masterful ability to harmonize.

In fact, it’s their more serious material that brings out the talent of the Chenille Sisters.  In “Long Ago,” Cheryl Dawdy belts out a melancholic tune that astounds with its beauty, and in “Memories of You,” Connie Huber strums the guitar as the other two Sisters follow her lead through a great ramble that evokes the style of the Dixie Chicks.

Their comic take-off on Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” is a particularly biting satire about the annoyances of men, and although the new lyrics they give to Dylan’s tune are not quite as original as their other comic songs, this track fits in well with the rest of their repertoire.

About halfway through the show, the Sisters are joined by the Royal Garden Trio, which brings a light jazz flair to several songs that blends well with the Sisters’ style. In “Mood Indigo,” in particular, both groups have time to shine in the collaborative setting.

Documentary-style segments occasionally break up the performance to tell us more about the women, their upbringing, and their musical training over the years. The segments give the viewer insight into the Sisters’ great offstage camaraderie.

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