I discovered Shel in May 2013 just after I stumbled upon excellent Eva Holbrook Youtube Video, Tuscany. I was really impressed by Eva, and her creative use of the mandolin in Tuscany, so I started looking around for videos of Shel and I was really happy to see a girls group with such a fresh sound! I loved it.
I have been a fan since, so now I decided to dedicate the first entry of bands section of theMandolinTuner Hall of Fame, to Shel.
SHEL is Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza, four classically trained musicians who happen to be sisters. From the artist colony of Fort Collins, Colorado, SHEL is sophisticated and youthful, emotional and lighthearted, classic and eccentric. SHEL’s engaging live show is marked with a prodigy’s creativity and a veteran’s instinct for entertaining. Audiences delight with their unique songwriting style and fresh, new sound.
The Holbrook sisters grew up in a musical household and first appeared on the stage backing their singer-songwriter father, Andrew Holbrook. In 2005, the girls collaborated to form SHEL and now play and write all of their own music. Their new EP, “ When the Dragon Came Down,” was co-produced by SHEL and six-time Grammy award-winner, Brent Maher. The band has attracted the attention of such major media outlets as NPR’s “eTown Live,” and ABC.com; toured nationwide playing fairs and festivals including South by Southwest, International Folk Alliance, Lilith Fair, Four Corners Folk Festival and Cornerstone; and had one of their songs featured in Glade’s Scented Oil Candles national TV ad campaign.
Copied from their Official Site (see external links below):
by Craig Havighurst
The high-altitude town of Fort Collins, Colorado is abundant in bicycles, awash in craft beer and rich in arts of all kinds. Understanding the town’s unique cultural brew begins (but only begins) to explain the novel sound of SHEL. Four sisters, raised in an atmosphere of creative freedom and diligent study, have honed their musical skills surgically sharp and blended their personalities and visions into a unified whole. They are a vocal group with outstanding instrumental capabilities and an instrumental group with a thrilling vocal attack. From their fetching, unpredictable songs to their whimsical, hand-made top hats, SHEL makes a profound impression, something they are doing to growing crowds and critical acclaim.
Sisters Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza were born within five years of each other. Raised and home-schooled by a professional songwriter father and an artist mother, they dove into music young. Hannah was first to take classical lessons on piano. Then it was Sarah on violin, Liza on harp and Eva on mandolin. Liza switched to the drums upon discovery of her passion for polyrhythm. Then in the early 2000s, they started working up and performing songs with their father. Over time, Eva stepped forward as the lead vocalist. Andrew Holbrook with SHEL became SHEL with Andrew Holbrook—and then just SHEL.
A friend of the family made a connection with Grammy-winning producer Brent Maher, an artist development guru with a long track record of hit singles and artistic breakthroughs. Over three years of unhurried experimentation and recording, SHEL completed two EPs and grew immeasurably. Now, their most complete and thought-out work to date is here in the form of a self-titled, debut album.
Nestled within SHEL’s enveloping sound, wisps of folk revival, vaudeville, renaissance fairs and steam-punk esthetic blur around one another. Allusions abound to their core influences—The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Harry Nilsson and acoustic super-group Strength In Numbers—but you’ve never heard this before. Tracks such as “Tuscany” borrow liberally from their classical training, yet there’s nothing ponderous or unapproachable about them. “The Wise Old Owl” showcases their daring, fanciful vocal arrangements. They revel in strong dynamics, so a single song like “Stained” can grow from airy lace to a driving, white-water rush. They are richly feminine, but they don’t shy from covering Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore.” Above all, there’s variety and creativity. Pure acoustic tone is best when it’s best, but if an electric mandolin or special effect is called for, they let the song dictate the production.
SHEL has achieved many benchmarks that point to a full and fruitful career ahead. They’ve played public radio’s Etown, Echoes, South by Southwest, Nashville’s Music City Roots, Lilith Fair and numerous other distinguished festivals. In addition, they have songs in national television ad campaigns for Splenda, Glade and a song featured in CBS series, Jersey Girl. One does not have to be floating on the updraft of their blended voices to predict a bright future for SHEL.
Concerts and Events
If you want to attend a performance from Shel, I recommend you check with their official site for tour dates and events (see external links below).
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