With their unique instrumentation (harp and guitar), soaring vocal harmonies, and unforgettable original songs, The Callen Sisters make an impact from the first listen. More than a singer-songwriter duo, they are family, friends, and musical partners. They share each other’s lives, a closeness that informs their music and that is displayed to stirring effect on their self-titled debut album, which stands as a testament of shared experience, loss, and love.
Raised in Westport, Massachusetts, and Saratoga Springs, New York, The Callen Sisters are Jessa Callen (harp and vocals, age 25) and Beth Callen (guitar and vocals, age 23). Playing and writing songs together since childhood, by high school, the girls were performing live as a duo at venues throughout Saratoga Springs and the Capital Region—open mic nights, coffee shops (such as the legendary Caffé Lena), special events hosted by local businesses and community organizations, street busking during the crowded Saratoga summer months, and wherever else they could. Audience reaction has always been ecstatic. Curiosity is naturally directed towards the harp—an unusual instrument in a “folk” context, but once audiences hear the interplay of harp and guitar, they never forget it.
The sisters both enrolled at SUNY Purchase and socialized in the same musical circle. Their closeness increased and their music horizons expanded as the result of a series of family losses. The two sought refuge in each other and in their music, gaining strength and perspective from their experiences.
Their self-titled debut album, produced and arranged by Dan Castellani, displays the dynamic and dramatic range of The Callen Sisters’ songwriting and vocal skills. The songs on The Callen Sisters' debut record deal with the personal experiences, societal insights, and raw emotions of both sisters. The album’s 12 original songs (each sister wrote six songs apiece) include the plaintive and lilting “Like You,” written and sung by Beth, and the haunting and rich “Irrelevant,” written and sung by Jessa. The sweetness of “Lullaby” shows the lighter side of Jessa’s writing, while “Anomie” reveals the edgy side of Beth.
The Callen Sisters are currently living in the New York City metro area, playing in such legendary clubs as The Bitter End and The Knitting Factory. Their performances have garnered them positive write-ups in several press outlets. Jessa and Beth are looking forward to connecting with people through their music with the release of their debut album and their upcoming tour.