Twin Sisters (Version 2)

Mac Traynham's Tune of the Week

Here’s the other tune known as Twin Sisters that is nothing like the D tune called Twin Sisters or Jennie Baker.

Here’s old-time clawhammer banjo player Sidna Meyers of Carroll County playing Twin Sisters as a solo. He has some cool melodic right hand techniques not unlike his contemporaries on banjo Glen Smith and Wade Ward. This is not a dance tune in my opinion.

Twin Sisters by Sidna Meyers (banjo)

This recording above  is from the collection entitled High Atmosphere by John Cohen originally issued on LP in the 70s. My inexperienced ear led me to believe this was another pretty tune in double C tuning  and I learned it on my banjo not having paid attention the unique tuning that was mentioned in the liner notes. It is basically double C with the 4th string tuned up to a higher than expected note in the melody. To me it has a sweet but lonesome sound but not so dark.

A few years later I heard it played by someone in A modal tuning and didn’t really like it. Maybe it was in a band situation. I finally heard another take of it by Sidna Meyers and realized that it is indeed one of our area’s rare modal tunes. I could hear something different about it that made it sound not so sweet anymore.

Here the tune Twin Sisters played as a duet with Fulton Meyers on fiddle. The modal nature indeed comes out. I can’t begin to imagine how a guitar would do anything to enhance this. The ancient drones would succumb to any chords applied to this old-time sound. Some tunes are just meant to be duets only.

Twin Sisters by Sidna Meyers (banjo) and Fulton Meyers (fiddle)
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