Ask and you shall receive is a motto Sister C lives by. Due to popular demand by their passionate fans, the trio recently released Demo Sessions, Vol. 2, riding high on the success of Vol. 1 that was released earlier this year. This new collection features six new songs and showcases the girls’ growth since their previous album.
“Vol. 2 captures our sound a little bit better,” says Cirby Manchaca, one third of Sister C, via phone interview. “It’s a fun grouping of songs.” And while the girls have multiple songs they could’ve included on the album, Manchaca says the selections were based on the viewer responses generated by the intimate series, Blue Room Sessions, which features the girls performing their songs acoustically with the backdrop of a beautiful blue room in their Nashville home.
The album opens with the bouncy, “Chainsmoker” that draws the listener in with a perky banjo and sweet harmonies orchestrated by the three girls, in addition to its sound that’s reminiscent of the Dixie Chicks. Along with calling it a “really fun song,” Manchaca revealed that they had wanted to open the song with a three-part harmony, as it’s something they hadn’t done before. The song compares love to the experience of having an addiction with lyrics like “You’re my favorite buzz…Because I’m a chainsmoker and baby you’re my cigarette.” While kicking off the project with an upbeat vibe, “Chainsmoker” also serves as a solid indication of the rest of the album’s sound.
Fan favorite “Cinderella” is a strong follow up to the lead track, serving as a cautionary tale of a girl hoping to find her Prince Charming inside a smoky bar, with the narrator advising her that the bar is no ballroom and to snap out of her Cinderella fairytale and “lose him before you lose a shoe.” A personal favorite track for the Sister C member is “Drinkin Bout You” intended for “anyone that’s suffering from heartbreak” that features a more traditional country sound – an element that is common on Demo Sessions, Vol. 2. Proud natives of Texas, the girls have organically found a way to blend both the modern and traditional country sounds, making for a dynamic project. “It just kind of comes out naturally, so we use that in our songwriting,” Manchaca said about how their Texas blood influences their sound.
That southern twang is especially heard on “If I Were You” and “Willie Nelson & My Dog,” with the former really incorporating the sound and grit of the Lone Star State, much like the Pistol Annies. The fun track finds our narrator wanting her lost love back, watching as he falls in love with another girl and thinking of all the things she’d do if she was in this woman’s shoes. The beautiful harmonies make themselves present once again on the tongue-in-cheek track, “Willie Nelson & My Dog,” that’s almost the opposite of “If I Were You,” with the girls rejecting the advances of a sweet-talking guy trying to win their heart, saying “Your sweet talkin’ won’t get you very far” with Willie Nelson – and a lovable pooch – waiting for them at home.
Manchaca relayed that the group’s songwriting skills have certainly developed, which is apparent on the new album as they explore deeper meanings in their songs. She credits producer Simon Reid in contributing to this growth, saying that he managed to help them find a balance between an old and new country sound. “As far as our songwriting goes, I think we grew a lot more,” she said. Like on the sweet “Take Me Home,” which may remind one of Tim McGraw’s “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” with its soothing melody and longing for simpler times as the singer paints an image for the listener of precious memories from the past. Manchaca also draws a comparison to McGraw in the song, saying how he has a gift for “going back to what matters in life” with his ability to “take you home.”
On Demo Sessions, Vol. 2, Sister C demonstrate a new sense maturity, as the harmonies are sweeter, the melodies are purer and the blend of traditional and modern country is as strong as ever. “There’s not an essential theme, it’s just a mix tape of different songs,” says Manchaca. “It’s just a bunch of different feelings.”
Demo Sessions, Vol. 2 is available now. For more information on Sister C and to see their Blue Room Sessions, visit their official website.