Local band Call Me Spinster is comprised of three sisters who come from a very musical family.
Photo by Jered Martin
“Our mother trained as a classical singer and conductor and our dad is a folk guitarist and weekend singer/songwriter,” Rachel said.
They grew up around a surprising variety of music. While one side held a grandfather obsessed with Gilbert and Sullivan, the other side of the family was Amish and Mennonite, harmonizing through old hymns together during family events.
The sisters, Rosalie (Rosie), Rachel, and Amelia, pursued music to varying degrees as they grew older. Rachel and Rosie studied music in college. Amelia, however, stopped music for the most part after 8th grade. She was a teacher, both in New Orleans and then Chattanooga. During this time, she began to teach herself to play her grandfather’s old accordion.
“We began getting together on summers off to teach each other the songs we were learning and play a few family weddings,” Rachel said.
The band began after the sisters moved to Chattanooga. “Our music is the lens by which we examine our sisterhood, ourselves, and our world,” Rachel reflected.
Call Me Spinster is comprised of many different instruments including the banjo, accordion, upright bass, washboard, synthesizer, electric guitar, bass, and drums.
Photos by Our Ampersand Photography
“We have been told that our sound reminds people of a 60’s girl group, Irish folk music, doo-wop, early Bowie art pop, [and] ‘holler’ blood harmony,” Rachel said.
Each sister has different things they find to be their favorite about participating in the band.
“It’s like a trojan horse to amazing people and places,” Amelia said. “For instance, last month we got to play and stay in the house that Elvis Presley built for Dr. Nick in Memphis.”
Rachel enjoys singing with her sisters. “There is something about it that feels like home but also transcendent like we are tapping into something so much bigger (or older? Or universal?) than just the three of us,” she said.
Rosie’s favorite part about the experience is “getting to hang out with and bounce ideas off of people who know [her] best.” “[I like] getting people out for the sole purpose of enjoying music,” she said.
The sisters’ bond bred a specific goal for their band.
“We want to be a part of an artistic ecosystem that is sustainable, that can be a support of family and be fabulous, that can reach millions of people and give back to our local community,” Rachel said. “The pandemic turned most everybody’s world upside-down so we want to ride that wave in a positive way--thinking outside the box to make music without having to sacrifice our people and our values.”
“We … want to continue to build and nurture our family, collaborate with artists across genres and media, and continue to write really good songs,” she continued.