Sisters performing together in a band is nothing new. The Andrews Sisters were singing about the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” back during World War II. More recently, such sister acts as Heart, The Bangles, Wilson Phillips and the Dixie Chicks have proven that the family that sings together succeeds together.
That is certainly true of Antigone Rising, the all-female country rock band out of New York. Sisters Cathy and Kristen Henderson, as well as Dena Tauriello and Nini Camps, will perform at Jammin Java in Vienna on Dec. 7.
Since releasing their first album “She’s Gone a Little Mad,” in 1996, the band has gone on to release several studio and live albums. Their latest effort, “The Whiskey EP,” is almost finished, according to Cathy Henderson.
“It’s a full-length CD,” Henderson said. “We are so excited about it. What’s different about it is we recorded it in our own studio. Nini … has a studio she’s built in her house and Kristen and I both live five minutes away from her house. It’s been such a pleasure to not have the ticking clock of the studio — because you have a certain amount of time, a certain amount of money and you have to get it done. It’s been a pleasure not having any of that hanging over our heads.”
Henderson said the freedom has allowed the band to really dive into each song so they could fine tune the instruments and really focus on the songs themselves.
“It also allows us to let the track sit and we can come back to it,” Henderson said. “… There’s probably a bit more depth [on this album].”
The band prides itself on connecting with its fans. To do that, Antigone Rising spends most of the year touring, which doesn’t give the ladies much in the way of free time.
“It’s few and far between,” Henderson said. “We have been trying to say, ‘OK, we’re taking off the last two weeks in December and we’re taking off the last week in August.’ So, we’ve been getting better as far as giving ourselves a vacation. The thing is that since we live so close to each other … we’re not only working together, but we’re socializing together. So we ultimately end up talking about it anyway. It’s a part of us. We love it. It’s what we do.”
Growing up, music was a major part of life for the Henderson girls. Although their parents weren’t really musicians, Henderson said they had a great appreciation for music.
“My father had such an extensive record collection,” Henderson said. “Music was always being played in the house whether it was recorded music or us trying to teach ourselves how to play piano and drums and guitar and roping in all the neighborhood kids. Kristen and I always knew this is what we wanted to do.”
In April, Kristen made news in another way. She and her wife, Sarah, were on the cover of Time magazine for its “Gay Marriage Already Won,” issue. Before that, Kristen wrote a book, “Times Two: Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made.”
Cathy said she was very proud of her sister and the band as a whole wasn’t worried about upsetting or alienating fans.
“Not at this point in our career,” Henderson said. “Probably yes in the early 2000s. At that point, I probably would have said yes, but not at this point. We’ve evolved. We’re adults now and I think that it’s really important and we’ve reached a point where it’s important to just be true to who we are as individuals and who we are as a group and to not hide. Obviously, that LGBT issue was extremely important to us. We’re big supporters and activists — Kristen especially. There’s no reason at this point to hide that. If people [stop listening to us] for that reason, then so be it. They’re not true fans of ours.”
Antigone Rising does have a large fanbase, which continues to grow. Henderson said she hopes that people can tap into their songs and just enjoy themselves.
“I hope that they’re having fun and that … in some way, shape or form we touched them emotionally,” Henderson said. “We definitely get a lot of people who’ve said to us that certain songs have gotten them through hard times. That’s probably the best gift of all.”