You, Me, and the DuPrees: Eisley Enchants at the Old Rock House, Tuesday, June 29
While most of the free world was queued up at one of the local cinemas to take in the latest installment of the Twilight saga, about 160 people were treated to a fantastic show by Texas indie-poppers Eisley.
Diana Benanti Eisley at the Old Rock House
But no vampires, not even sparkly ones, could produce such dreamy sounds. And it would be hard to find five people more qualified to be singing about people made out of gumdrops, snowflakes in crystal air and little birdies flitting across dreary skies. Such fairy-tale fodder would be inexcusable from any other band, but every Eisley song is like opening a story book, and glimpsing a fairy land where home is always near, sisters are always close and a quick trip through the magical "Trolley Wood" will take you wherever you need to be. It's not all daisies and unicorns though; no fairy tale would be complete without a fight against good and evil, and Eisley delivers enchantment and haunted sadness in equal measure.
The quintet is made up of five DuPrees: siblings Stacy, Sherri, Chauntelle, Weston and their cousin Garron. Chauntelle and Sherri formed Eisley in 1997. Then-8-year-old Stacy was deemed too young to join the band, but she persevered and now fronts the band with sister Sherri while Chauntelle churns out the guitar hooks and occasionally contributes vocals. The band cut its teeth playing hundreds of shows throughout Texas before gaining notoriety by opening for bands such as Coldplay and Hot Hot Heat.
Despite its tender ages, the band is a well-oiled machine -- which is a testament, surely, to its cohesiveness as a family as well as a band. Stacy and Sherri have distinctive, silken voices; I'd go so far as to say they have two of the most beautiful voices in the business. Their voices could buoy you up from the depths of despair, only to throw you back down with the heartbreaking beauty of their music. Little sister Christie DuPree, the only sister not in Eisley, opened the show with a stripped-down set that further cemented, at least in my mind, that the DuPrees are one of the most talented families in the industry.
Eisley played a twenty-song set, highlighting some of its best songs from its debut, Room Noises, and 2007's Combinations. They introduced a few new tracks from their 2009 EP Fire Kites, and a forthcoming full length, to be released later this year. "Ambulance" and "The Valley" were the stand outs of the new stuff; Eisley has matured but has kept the sugarcoated lyrics and incandescent harmonies which set the band apart from other indie pop groups.