The Haden Triplets

https://www.hadentriplets.com/

The Haden Triplets—Petra, Rachel and Tanya—were born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, and carry between them a list of credits that includes some of the most interesting rock, jazz and experimental music to come along in the past 30 years: that dog., Weezer, Beck, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, Bill Frisell, Sunn O))), Mike Watt, Paul Motian, Silversun Pickups and the Decemberists, to name just a handful.

But like their late father, the bassist Charlie Haden, who changed jazz’s trajectory alongside Ornette Coleman beginning in the 1950s, the sisters also belong to the American heartland, and to the winsome family harmony singing of the region’s folk and country music. On The Family Songbook, the follow-up to their acclaimed 2014 self-titled debut, the Haden Triplets mine their heritage more profoundly than ever before. That includes recording recently unearthed songs by their grandfather, Carl E. Haden, a figure of novelesque dimensions: friend to the Carter Family, Porter Wagoner and other icons, and patriarch of the singing Haden Family, a fascinating footnote in country-music history.

These uncovered gems are lost dispatches from a forgotten America – the mountains and prairies and swamps that conjured up the folk art and culture endlessly mythologized by everyone from Dylan to the Coen brothers. Carl wrote the four tunes here during the Depression, when he was still in his 20s and a rising popular radio performer.

But the concept behind the Triplets’ The Family Songbook also transcends ancestry and nostalgia. The project includes a contribution by the sisters’ brother Josh, a brilliant singer-songwriter best known as the force behind the genre-bending indie band Spain. The song, “Every Time I Try,” was included on the soundtrack to director Wim Wenders’ The End of Violencein 1997, and Josh returns to play bass behind his sisters here. Kanye West’s “Say You Will” might seem out of left field, but it fits the sisters’ m.o. to simply seek out great songs, and its stark, flamenco-tinged treatment makes it feel remarkably of a piece with Americana standards like “Wayfaring Stranger,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Wildwood Flower” and “Pretty Baby.”