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The Sweetback Sisters

Looking for a Fight – 2011 (Signature Sounds)

Reviewed by Nelson Gullett

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Sweetback Sisters' guitarist/vocalists Zara Bode and Emily Miller aren't kin in any literal sense of the word. They share no blood relation. On their second studio album "Looking for a Fight," however, Bode and Miller sing so naturally together, you would be forgiven for thinking they share a few strands of DNA. Along with Jesse Milnes on fiddle and guitar, Stefan Amidon on drums, Ross Bellenoit on Telecaster guitar, and Peter Bitenc on bass, The Sweetback Sisters have crafted an album that is deeply rooted in the sounds of classic country. That they make those sound fresh and inviting without seeming quaint or dated is testament to their prowess as a unit.

If there's any doubt where their influences originated, The Sweetback Sisters showcase their reverence for the early heroes of the genre by including a few of their songs. Tracks like their swinging cover of Patsy Cline's Love Me, Honey, Do and their more somber reading of Hazel Dickens' Don't Put Her Down, You Helped Put Her There, are two of the standouts. Renditions of Dwight Yoakam's It Won't Hurt When I Fall Down From This Barstool and The Traveling Wilburys' Rattled give more of an insight into the band's contemporary influences.

The band's original tunes more than hold their own as well. Run Home and Cry is a swinging send off to an unfaithful lover while the title track recalls Fist City or any other of Loretta Lynn's cheatin' and beatin' songs.

In fact, this album shares quite a bit in sound and attitude with Lynn. She was never one to back down from a fight (still isn't). With this new record, The Sweetback Sisters seem to be announcing they won't back down any time soon either.