Drinkard Sisters: Local Sisters Go From Acoustic Duo to Full Band
By: Michael Fossbakk
June 7, 2017
Think of an acoustic musical performance you’ve been to and you’ll likely be reminded of the intimacy that the soft vocals and airy instrumentals evoked. Attend one of the Drinkard Sisters’ gigs and that’s a close description of what you’ll get.
Bonnie and her sister Caitlin have been playing music together since they were kids growing up in a musical household.
“We come from a pretty musical family,” Bonnie said. “My mom sings, and my dad plays banjo and mandolin and guitar, so we’ve been singing together for a long time. We started our first band called Golden in, like 2008/2009. We just realized we really love singing together and people seem to really like it, the sounds of our voices together and everything.”
That sound she’s referring to is something that audiences have really taken to. But, it’s not just the sound of their voices singing in harmony. There’s a personal connection they feel is fostered by their music.
“The sibling dynamic is really special and a lot of people say, ‘I wish that I could sing with my brother or my sister,’” Bonnie said. “When we realized that it was something special, we were like, ‘We gotta just hang on to this. We gotta go with this.’”
Pop music might not be the first thing to come to mind when you hear their music, but, for Bonnie, pop music is exactly what influences her.
“I’m a huge ABBA fan,” Bonnie said. “I’ve been an ABBA fan for a long time and their harmonies are just incredible. I think they’re the best ever…Their harmonies have always been really influential to me.”
In 2016, the duo decided to incorporate three more members to the band: drummer Nick Landstrom, guitarist Dan Clark and bassist Ryan Harroun. Going from writing songs for the two of them to the full band is something you could say Bonnie and Caitlin have already been doing.
“A lot of the time when we are writing songs, we envision it, sort of, filled out,” Bonnie said. “We can imagine the drum we want to have on it. We can imagine the bass line we want to have on it.”
And while Bonnie and Caitlin are used to writing all of their material together, they’ve found the new dynamic to be quite collaborative.
“Typically we’ll have something in mind and then we’ll see,” Bonnie said. “…Like Dan Clark, in our band, he plays electric guitar, so we’ll come up with guitar parts for him. But then, usually, he can say, ‘What if I add this or what if I do this?’”
“It’s a totally different experience for us, playing with the full band versus when it’s just the two of us, but, I mean, that’s kind of a good thing,” Bonnie said.
The band’s collaborative nature is no mystery when you learn that they have all been friends for years. In fact, Bonnie and Nick even went to grade school together in Rochester Hills.
Drinkard Sisters is no stranger to the local music scene in metro Detroit, having played at several venues in the area.
“I love playing The Outer Limits Lounge in Hamtramck. It’s got total clubhouse vibes and the sound there was really great last time we played and I love their lights that they use,” Bonnie said. “So, I love Outer Limits Lounge and I think on the other end of the spectrum would be El Club [in Detroit]. Their sound is insane and they have an awesome green room.”
The full band has already performed at some local venues but now they have their sight set on a different goal: releasing their first full-length album. The new album is set to release sometime this year with an accompanying tour also in the works.
“That’s kind of our main focus, finally getting this album out ‘cause we haven’t toured. We haven’t played shows outside of town,” Bonnie said. “We’re gonna see how that goes and that could open some doors. It’ll definitely be a good time.”