The Haden Triplets' Three-Part Harmonies
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Channeling old songs for a new audience, these sisters remind us that voices don’t blend like this every day.
By Anne Miller
Like father, like daughter — and daughter, and another daughter.
The Haden sisters — Petra, Rachel and Tanya — have musical bloodlines that run deep in Americana music. Working session and touring musicians all, with some solo output too, the trio has come together for a record that explores harmonies and classic Depression-era (and earlier) country.
The women are the offspring of jazz great Charlie Haden, who recently died on July 11. He first made a name with the Ornette Coleman Quartet, and helped define the bass in jazz. But before he made his own name in music, he toured with his parents and siblings as the Haden Family, with a radio show and on a Midwestern bluegrass circuit similar the Carter Family of June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash fame.
Stepping from a jazz upbringing into rock arenas and homey bluegrass might seem like a stretch, but they did it once before…
And it’s those old-time tunes that the sisters take up in three-part harmony.
The triplets, born in 1971, have proved their own musical chops playing with an impressive roster of indie rock and chart-topping favorites. Tanya Haden played with the Silversun Pickups, and she’s married to actor and musician Jack Black. Rachel Haden has toured with Jimmy Eat World and Todd Rundgren. Violinist Petra Haden has worked with The Decemberists, the Foo Fighters, Green Day and Weezer.
Stepping from a jazz upbringing into rock arenas and homey bluegrass might seem like a stretch, but they did it once before, in 2008, when Haden senior brought the family together for a roots record, Rambling Boy, featuring brother Josh as well.
Now it’s the sisters’ time to shine. They just played the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, along with Jack White, whose Third Man Records label released their new album, The Haden Triplets.
Herewith, we present their take on an old Carter Family song — paired with the original, for comparison’s sake.
Triplets are a rare enough thing — but three sisters who can harmonize like this makes us think they should play the lottery every day, all the time.