It’s with great pleasure that I inform you about a wonderful sister act originally from Newfoundland that I had the pleasure of interviewing back in 2011. The five-sister band Ashelin (Kallyan, Cassy, Joisie, Thea and Shaelin Palmer, to be exact) will return to Maine for a trio of shows starting at Skye Theatre in South Carthage on June 11 with performances at Phillips Area Community Centre in Phillips and the Knights of Columbus Hall in Calais on June 12 and 13 respectively. To that end, a phon interview was conducted with Cassy Palmer on the 14th of this month to find out what’s been happening with she and her sisters since last we spoke.

 

Q: So you’re coming back to Maine to perform again.

Palmer: Yes, we are!

 

Q: All five sisters play instruments in the band, correct?

Palmer: Yes, we play a number of different instruments between us: violin, mandolin, piano, drums, percussion, guitar, bass, Irish whistle, harmonica … you don’t know what you’re going to see when you show up at one of our performances. We kind of just introduce different instruments throughout different songs during the show. Oh, and we all sing, as well.

 

Q: Oh, yes — that I know all too well! I have a thing for vocal harmonies, especially the sibling variety and you young ladies do it incredibly well … you’re amazing!

Palmer: Thank you very much — we do get a lot of response from people about the harmonies and our vocal arrangements with our songs, so I guess that’s where our strength is with the group. We have a lot of fun with it and like to experiment with it, and try to come up with cool arrangements to songs and things that we write. Actually our youngest sister, Shaelin, just wrote a vocal tune — it’s just vocals, no instruments or anything, and it doesn’t really have any words, either, it’s just different sounds with our voices. So we’ll probably be adding that to our set when we come to Maine because it is one that sparks a bit of interest within the audience.

 

Q: Oh, neat! Are there any plans for a new album seeing “The Road Not Taken” — your first album, I believe — came out in 2010?

Palmer: Yes, we’re actually in the process of doing the preproduction on a new album. We’ve been going through a lot of changes in the past while … last May, in 2013, we packed up all our things in our home in Newfoundland. We decided all together — as sisters and a band — that we needed to move on to a new Province and get some new experiences and make a change, so we moved to Nova Scotia and we’re living right outside Halifax. We’ve been here for a year now where we have our own home studio set up, so we’ve been here just writing music and recording demos and trying to get everything together and pin down which songs we would like to put on an album. Oh, and we’re hoping to release some sort of EP for the summer just to put something out there for people to listen to, so maybe a four- or five-song EP that people can have while we continue to work on the songs for the album.

 

Q: Is that a cappella song you mentioned in consideration for the new CD?!

Palmer: Yeah, we have that one recorded right now. We have a lot of exciting things happening with the music and getting a lot of our own original songs going, as well.

 

Q: So folks coming to any of your shows on this mini-Maine tour will hear stuff they haven’t heard before?

Palmer: Yeah, we’re going to be adding some new songs that we’ve written — some originals — so, yeah, they’ll be hearing some new stuff, for sure. And we’ve done the Maine circuit with Phill McIntyre and the New England Celtic Arts that he has. We have done that twice before so we’re very excited to be coming back and just doing that whole circuit again. I think it’s going to be great!

 

Q: When I found your stuff on YouTube there were quite a few little pieces where you sang and also talked about touring Maine — it was quite complimentary.

Palmer: I think that was actually the last time we went through Maine and did the tour. We were doing up little videos as we were going along and just posting them, and we’re planning on doing that again this time … we had a lot of fun with it last time.

 

Q: And that’s something that comes across through your music — whether you can see it or not — you can tell that you girls are having fun and I think that has a big impact on how the music is experienced by the listener.

Palmer: Yeah, we do really enjoy doing it. I mean, it’s what we want to do so we may as well have fun doing it at the same time.

 

Q: Good point! Is there anything you’d like to get across to the folks reading this article?

Palmer: Just to keep following us on the internet … at our website, Facebook and Twitter — they can stay up-to-date with what we are working on right now. (www.ashelin.com)

 

Lucky Clark has spent 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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