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The Skipperdees / Press

“For all the implied optimism of its title, Here's to Hoping is as world-aware and dark as anything ever birthed from the Appalachian folk tradition. Recording in their living room with almost exclusively an acoustic guitar and banjo, the Backus sisters' music is steeped in what Greil Marcus' would call "the old, weird America." But the world of The Skipperdees is the one that never changes. It's the one where the crushing aspects of human pain, disappointment, suffering and heartbreak are not necessarily the stuff of life but always hovering and, with inescapable eventuality, haunting. ... With poetry worthy of Dickinson and an honesty rare as rubies, Here's to Hoping is a breathtakingly accomplished album that will always sound fresh for the simple reason that the things that pained and pursued those before us continue to bother humanity now and will surely menace every future generation.”

“Over plaintive banjo and acoustic guitar, the twin Backus sisters (occasionally joined live by Madison McDonald on mandolin) pay tribute to the quintessential sounds of Appalachia with earnest, poetic folk ballads. Emily says the duo has been "harmonizing since the womb" and are "influenced in equal parts by Spice World and Appalachia." Yes, that's Spice World, as in the film featuring The Spice Girls. I know, I don't remember Folky Spice either, but before you dismiss the reference, visit The Skipperdee's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/TheSkipperdees and search for their series of "'90s November." It's a brilliant collection of their favorite '90s songs–performed on guitar and banjo–one for every day of the month. Yes, there is a Spice Girls track among them. Although the girls may have grown up with an affection for alternative pop and rock, it's lucky for us they decided to pursue a more organic sound, as they do folk beautifully.”

“There are no secrets in The Skipperdees. Twin sisters Emily and Catherine Backus know exactly what the other is thinking — and, perhaps, it was that overwhelming sense of understanding that led the twins to try and understand other people. “I like observing people,” Catherine said. “I think people are really interesting.” ... “I just absorb everything,” Emily said. “Then I squeeze out my mind sponge and the dirty soapy water that comes out is what our music is.” The music is created for and about the people. “It’s folk music for pop culture,” Catherine said. The harmonic two-piece guitar-and-banjo duo updates and twists old themes. The sisters steep their music in family traditions, Emily said, but in a new way. And the messages in the band’s music are often not only relevant but also uplifting. “We like to find the beauty in ugly situations,” Catherine said. For The Skipperdees, music is an outlet that provides hope and healing while it grows.”

"Skipperdee-doo-da: This folk duo from Tennessee is made up of twins. I would argue that they were born to sing with each other. They were quite lovely, though not flashy. They sang thoughtful songs with a banjo and guitar — and a sporadic trumpet — that complimented each other just fine. They have an album for sale that they recorded in a living room. If they’re second impression is as good as the first — I plan on seeing them again soon — I’ll be picking one up."

“The surprise smile of the week comes courtesy of acoustic act The Skipperdees. Composed of twin sisters Catherine and Emily Backus, the pair hail from Oak Ridge, TN, but make their home in Athens at least during the school year. While the Backus sisters may, at first blush, seem like a run-of-the-mill acoustic duo (mainly guitar and banjo with an occasional electric guitar accompaniment), there’s a certain purity and honesty in their sound that separates them from the crowd. There’s a definite mountain influence here, too, which makes sense. "”