This Saturday, August 11th, the Annual Dog Days of Summer Concert to Benefit Stray Hearts is back for its 9th year!
This year’s show features The Secret Sisters and will benefit Stray Hearts Animal Shelter in Taos—an organization dedicated to ensuring a life free of suffering and pain for animals (via education regarding spaying and neutering, as well as sheltering those animals in need of a home.) The event will take place at the KTAOS Solar Center Pavilion (rain or shine.)
The event has continually grown to be a favorite of locals and visitors alike. In its first year, the Dog Days concert raised $4,400 for Stray Hearts. To date, Dog Days has raised over $140,000 for Stray Hearts.
“From its inception, the (annual Dog Days), concert has brought together the people of Taos with a shared love of music and animals,” Mary Domito, founder of Dog Days. told me when we met recently. “This is first and foremost, a community event, and we’re so grateful for the continued support from the community of Taos.” She said.
Mary, who is known as Mattress Mary in this neck of the woods, is another woman whose move to Taos precipitated a major personal transformation; one which found her indulging herself in a life long love of music, that had long been excluded from her former corporate life.
“It’s really amazing that we are in our ninth year, and this year’s concert will really be an extra special event with ultra talented musicians.” She told me.
The Secret Sisters are a singing and songwriting duo consisting of vocalists Laura Rogers and Lydia Slagle. Their music, especially their vocal harmonies, has been compared to an Americana version of the The Everly Brothers.
Growing up in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, music was virtually in their blood. The love of music passed down from both sides – one grandfather and his brothers had a band called The Happy Valley Boys – and they grew up with a inherent love of country music.
The sisters first learned to harmonize singing a cappella at the church they attended with their family. The songs they began to write melded that love of country with gospel, bluegrass, barbershop and swing influences, with a contemporary, yet very Southern, twist.
T-Bone Burnett, whom the duo consider their mentor, co-produced their debut release The Secret Sisters in 2010, with Dave Cobb. The album consists of ballads, originals, and cover songs, all tinged with the unmistakable Americana flavour, Burnette is known for.
The album was recorded in just two weeks at Blackbird Studios. The production team and the Sisters utilized vintage microphones and classic recording techniques, down to the same type of tape they would have used fifty years ago.
Early fans included Bob Dylan who invited the Sisters to open for his band on tour, but as it often happens in the music biz, when their sound failed to captivate a mass audience, they lost their record deal.
They envisioned themselves leaving the industry completely until Brandi Carlile and her collaborators Tim and Phil Hanesroth offered to produce a new record for them.
The release of You Don’t Own Me Anymore brought them back into the spotlight where they remain, and earned them a Grammy Nomination for Best Folk Album this year.
Although the album was made in the Pacific Northwest, where the sisters had decamped to, Tennessee River Runs Low, a close-harmony piece of magic, celebrates the mighty, muddy flow of the river running through Northern Alabama.
I bury secrets deep, the sisters sing, I keep them where the catfish creep, the lyrics evoking the spirit of the place they come from.
Doors open at 4pm. Beginning at 5:30pm opener Jeff Bryant, an Austin-based musician who has performed as a keyboardist, pedal steel player and vocalist alongside Alpha Rev, Cory Morrow and Hudson Moore will warm up the crowd before The Secret Sisters The Secret Sisters take the stage at 7:30pm, bringing their deep-rooted Americana sounds to the Taos stage.
“We want to invite everyone to come out and enjoy this great show,” Mary said, “especially as this will be the only concert in New Mexico by The Secret Sisters on their current tour.”
“They open for Brandi Carlile at Red Rocks the following night,” she explained.
In addition to great music, the event will also feature the famous Dog Days silent auction, food and a full bar, and a raffle to win a Beautyrest Black luxury mattress or a $2000 gift certificate to Taos Lifestyle. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets are on sale at KTAOS.com.
For more information on the event, please visit the site linked below.
All images thanks to The Secret Sisters