Oct 27, 2008


We had an awesome time playing CMJ on Thursday. Our set was at The Living Room, a sweet singer/songwriter-friendly venue on the lower east side of manhattan. We had the full band there, and started the set with three accordion-laden tunes. We played three brand new new songs during the set that we will record when we go into the studio officially next month! Here's the setlist from the show:

Tangled Up
Like You
No Shelter (new one)
My Own Way (another new one)
Life (impromptu)
Between Us (yet another new one)

At the show we had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Gliss from LA, and tried to catch their set at The Delancey the following night, but missed them by 5 minutes. I blame it all on traffic and not on my propensity for being late ;-)

All in all, it was a great weekend ... it's fun and exciting to see so many musicians littering the streets of new york city, gathered in their tour vans, lugging guitars and amps and cymbal bags, double parked or searching for a spot. License plates from Wisconsin, California and Ohio, people dressed up and dressed down, whiskey and beer flowing, and an electric vibe of "happening-ness." I love this time of year.

Sep 30, 2008

We Signed to Cordless!

Hey all,

Just in case you didn't see the news on our website, we just signed a deal with Cordless Recordings!

We wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes sneek peek at the signing, so we snapped some photos with my camera phone. Check it:



Mark making sure it's official

Sep 28, 2008

Our Show at Purchase College

On Thursday we played a sweet show at Purchase College for the first time since we attended as students. I actually can't remember the last time I was at Purchase - - - hmmmmm. I'll have to ponder that for awhile. Abby Payne opened the set with some stellar songs from her new record. The sounds were lovely. I found myself humming some of her songs in my head at the after party.

The Callen Sisters followed suit by debuting three new and as-of-yet unrecorded songs. One is a ballad that Jessa sings by herself. It's a beautiful heartfelt little tune. She played it in the middle of our set on the stage by herself. When the band came back to join her, Chris, our bassist, belted out a hilarious Tom Waits cover.

The other two new songs rocked...partly because I was playing my new ASAT Classic. It is pretty sexy as far as guitars go, I must admit. Here, to your left, is a nice pic for your viewing pleasure.

My new song, as Dave, our drummer, likes to tell everyone, begins in the time signature of 5/8. If that is musician garble to you, just know that it sounds like a funky groove - and it's really fun to play with the full band.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the show. We had fun playing for you and experimenting with the new sounds of the accordion and stand up bass. If you missed the show, then boo hiss! Haha... we are going to be adding a string of tour dates in New England this Fall/Winter, so stay tuned.


Sep 12, 2008

Studio Time

Hello kids. It's an exciting time of year, what with all the school busses back on the roads, and we have good news for you. We started production on our sophomore album! Woo! At band rehearsal this past Wednesday we ran through two of the new tunes and started getting ideas for arrangements. If you are in southern NY on September 25, come by and give them a listen at Purchase College. We're playing an alumni concert with Abby Payne. This particular concert is going to be really fun because Dan is going to rock the accordion and Chris will man the upright bass.

These photos are from one of our demo recording sessions. Jessa keeps her harpy downstairs, and when we record, she and Dan get the exciting task of lugging it upstairs (that are slightly too short to fit any large items up them).

Aug 15, 2008

The Callen Sisters' Sophomore Album - Planning Stages

Hello all,

I know it's been awhile, but my sister and I have been up to no good - and by that assertion I mean that we've been writing our follow-up album to our debut. I am very, very close to being done with all the writing for this record!! (yaaaaaay!) I have a total of 11 songs, 9 of which I plan to record, and 6 of which will most likely (cross fingers) end up on this next recording.

This week I'm dog sitting for our drummer, Dave. He has a very sweet Australian Shepherd mix named Leia, and she and I have become quite good friends. Dave also happens to have a piano, which I find myself seriously lacking in daily life. Because of this easy access to a keyed instrument, and perhaps because of the lack of responsibility to tend to my own home - and let's not neglect to mention the amount of beer I have been consuming - I finished a track I was having a lot of difficulty with. It was mainly the lyrics that were perplexing. I had two lines that just would NOT come. No amount of coaxing was doing the job. It's a funny thing, lyrics. I don't know why they take so long for me sometimes. I suppose it's because I base a lot of what I write on actual experience...even if that is exposure to someone else's experience.

Whew!!! I feel as if I have been 'talking' a lot... so I will bid you adieu. Keep your eyes and ears alert, as we will post more on the recording progress (and other exciting news that you will have to join the newsletter to experience).

Love and Peace,


P.S. This is an election year. I encourage you to register to vote. Please visit our website, www.thecallensisters.com and click on the "Register to Vote" banner to register.

Apr 13, 2008

Harmony, Melody, or Lyrics?

As a songwriter, how does the creative process begin? By plugging away at some guitar chords? Some plunkety plunk on the piano… or perhaps a melody that has you entranced?

At a very early age, I loved to write lyrics and build little melodies around them, but as of late, I find myself mostly writing the harmony first. (Being mainly a guitarist that means a chord progression or riff, although the piano is transforming that process for me). Lyrics are written in a slew of notebooks in various corners of my ‘music room' and melody always comes last. Now this is a very personal formula…a custom formula, you could say. I'm sure many people have it quite different than that.

The most blessed experience is when a song comes all at once – like a little lightbulb being switched on in your head. It's like you take a breath in, and there it all is, simultaneously and unwavering. I have only had one of these moments, but I always hope more will come.