Dana and Lauren: self-titled EP
It doesn’t happen too often, so it’s always nice to come across a band made up of family members. Identical twin sisters Dana and Lauren drop their self-titled EP. Whether you’ve heard of this bluegrass/country duo or not, they have already had a pretty impressive career so far, including touring all over the world and performing at top music festivals (CMA Fan Fest, Grey Fox-to name a couple). Most of that was with Malibu Storm (a group they have with their brother), as well as under their first band name, Shankman Twins.
Okay, I’ll be honest with you. Once I discovered these two good ole country white girls did a cover of “California Love” by 2Pac and Dr. Dre-how could I not listen to that one first? I so wanted to hate it, but not even a minute passed before I realized I couldn’t wipe the goofy smile off my face. It’s a funky tune to begin with, but hearing it played with banjo and fiddle–not to mention sung by girls that remind you of the Dixie Chicks–messes with your mind in the best kind of way. My guess is that if 2Pac were alive today, he’d probably join them on stage somewhere to wow the audience. This was an incredibly brave choice of covers that could have easily fallen into the “cheesy” category. But in my opinion, the risk paid off big time. Well done.
The rest of the EP has that sweet bluegrass/country sound you’d expect to hear. “Chasing Trains” is my second favorite track on here. I love the way it opens. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the instruments actually mimic a train and start off slow, then get faster and faster, as if the train is just leaving the station. The shuffling drums add to the effect. The song is fun, lighthearted, and catchy. What more could you ask for?
I like these girls. A full-length album is definitely in order. “Song to My Heart” is really the only track I didn’t care for as much as the others. But this is just me being nitpicky. Dana and Lauren have something special here. They’ll charm you with the banjo and fiddle; their southern-accented harmonies are fantastic; their songs are well written, produced, and arranged. And if all that doesn’t do it for you, perhaps some bluegrass 2Pac will seal the deal.