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The Secret Sisters, Bob Dylan Conspire on 'Dirty Lie' - Song Premiere

Duet on Alabama siblings' new album was three decades in the making

April 15, 2014 11:35 AM ET
The Secret Sisters
The Secret Sisters
Courtesy of Republic Records

Ethereal harmonies once again take center stage on the Secret Sisters' sophomore album, Put Your Needle Down. Muscle Shoals-bred siblings Laura and Lydia Rogers share vocals on a 12-track collection that, like their debut album, takes the listener back to a time when vocalists valued purity over production. But this time around, they manage to marry their signature throwback sound with a lot more energy.

Watch The Secret Sisters Perform on RS Live

"We grew up in a church where you had to use your voice; we didn’t have instruments. You had to learn how to harmonize," Laura Rogers tells Rolling Stone. "Our voices just naturally sound like an older time. So with this record, we tried to bridge that gap and modernize it and make it more youthful."

The four years of musical growth in between albums is also evident in the project's writing credits, as the Rogers co-wrote the majority of its songs. The singers credit legendary producer T Bone Burnett for what they deem the most surreal moment in making the album: finishing a song that Bob Dylan first started writing back in the mid-Eighties.

"We were in the middle of our recording session with T Bone and he said to us, 'Bob sent over some songs for you guys to listen to and choose one to finish,'" Laura recalls. "It was the weirdest thing ever to even be considered to finish it in a way that even remotely measures up to what he is known for. So we looked at four or five demos he’d sent, and ['Dirty Lie'] really spoke to us."

The ladies finished writing the song in about two hours, creating a duet with a smoky, 1950s jazz club vibe. Coupled with the country, folk, pop and gospel-influenced songs that make up Put Your Needle Down, "Dirty Lie" is yet another example of The Secret Sisters' versatility - and nonconformity.

"It's slightly terrifying when people say, 'I don't know how to categorize the Secret Sisters. What genre are you?'" Lydia admits. "You need to be categorized to find radio success, but we’re not too concerned with radio. If you can’t categorize your music, then you’re not doing what's trendy and you're not following a formula. So if you're not categorized, there's a good chance you're doing something special."

Put Your Needle Down hit stores today (April 15).

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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