Twin sisters Chandra Watson and Leigh Watson are daughters of the Deep South whose music crosses the divide between country traditions and contemporary roots music. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, the Watson Twins took up singing when they were young girls, following the example of their mother, who would sing along with her favorite tunes around the house. In 1998, Chandra and Leigh pulled up stakes and moved to Los Angeles in hopes of making a career in music. They spent several years as backup singers with a popular local band and became fixtures on the hip music scene in Silverlake, where they performed with acts such as Orphan Train, Joe Firstman, and Rilo Kiley. The Watson Twins also began writing their own material and arranging the work of others to suit their unique harmonies, occasionally playing shows under the name "Black Swan."
Already well-known in L.A., the Watson Twins got a significant career boost when Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis invited the girls to sing harmonies on her solo debut. The result, 2006's Rabbit Fur Coat, was a major indie success that drew nearly as much attention to the Watson Twins as it did to Lewis. The sisters followed up such success with a recording of their own, Southern Manners, a self-released eight-song EP that gave Chandra and Leigh greater room to explore their perspective on rural American music. The disc sold well during the group's tour, where they sold out major venues in Southern California and traveled the country both as a headliner and as an opening act for Magnolia Electric Co.. After signing with Vanguard Records, the Watson Twins released their first full-length album, Fire Songs, in 2008, with Talking to You, Talking to Me following two years later. Pioneer Lane, a collection of original family-oriented folk songs produced by Russell Pollard, arrived in the fall of 2013. ~ Mark Deming