Not many bands in New England can match the combination of harmony and grit that The Wolff Sisters have. The grit definitely comes from their home city of Boston and the harmony comes from the voices of Rebecca, Rachael and Kat Wolff at various times with Will Rodriguez on drums and a rotating cast of bassists. This act has a stellar folk-rock sound that has garnered them a growing fan base around the region. Their live performances back up their reputation with an energetic feel. On Saturday night, people can see what they’re all about at The Knickerbocker Music Center in downtown Westerly where they’ll be sharing a bill with Niantic, Connecticut, Americana act The CarLeans.
I had a talk with Rachael ahead of the show about making music in a Victorian house, her parents encouraging her and her sisters to be creative, their latest album that came out last year and big plans for 2020.
Rob Duguay: Before The Wolff Sisters became a thing, you, Kat and Rebecca spent a few years honing your sound in a Victorian house right outside of Boston. How did the three of you end up there in the first place and were there any adjustments either of you had to make when it came to the acoustics of the house?
Rachael Wolff: We’re originally from the Hyde Park neighborhood in Boston, but then we moved to the suburbs in Canton into a big old Victorian era house. Our living room had an upright piano so the three of us from a young age would play music together, Kat on the piano with Rebecca and I playing our guitars. It wasn’t a studio or anything, just our house. We wrote many songs together in that living room and on that piano. “Down By The Lake” was the first song when we were just teenagers, which appears on our second album Cahoon Hollow.
Our parents encouraged us to play music and create so they didn’t mind all the band practices and jam sessions we had. They would even have their musician friends over for big jam sessions and we would get to sit in with them, learning how to play the blues.
RD: That’s an awesome way to grow up. Your parents are poets and musicians themselves, so they must have been a big influence on you and your sisters.
RW: Yeah, our parents were always listening to music so it was naturally a part of our lives. They would blast so much great stuff through the living room speakers, ranging from The Rolling Stones, Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, The Band to Bob Dylan and more. They encouraged us to be creative and chase dreams and passions. They also are adventurous people, so we were always hiking or surfing our doing something outdoors in nature. Imagery of the New England landscape and our adventures in the mountains and rivers and beaches is a big part of our songwriting.
RD: Speaking of New England, the band has made their presence felt all over the region by performing in various parts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire. What do you enjoy the most about performing in a different city or town?
RW: Being a band based out of Boston is great. We can drive to another New England city or state every weekend and play a show. We’re usually bouncing around to Hartford or New Haven, Providence, Portsmouth, Burlington or Portland all the time. We love meeting new communities and bands from those communities. New England has an amazing network of Americana, folk-rock musicians and we’re so happy to be a part of it. We have friends wherever we go now.
RD: Last October the band put out their third album “Queendom Of Nothing.” Eric Lichter from Dirt Floor in Haddam, Connecticut produced it, so what was the experience like working with him on the album?
RW: We love Dirt Floor and made “Cahoon Hollow” there, so we felt that we just had to go back to make another one. Eric is like family now and we have so much fun. Dirt Floor isn’t just a studio, they really care about the music you are making and they care like it’s their own music. They aren’t just there to hit record and say “good job.” They are there to make it the best it can be, Dirt Floor is one of a kind.
RD: What are some plans for The Wolff Sisters so far in 2020?
RW: We have some cool music videos coming out and we have some bigger shows happening across New England. We’re planning on touring to California, down south to Nashville and maybe even Texas. We’re always writing songs too.