Sisters J are a native Tennessee singing duo, sisters Lily and Elisabeth Jackson, reminding us of the pleasure sibling singers can provide. Familial tandems are an important part of popular music history from The Everly Brothers, the Louvins, the Stanley Brothers, and many more. Such acts were once chart-topping mainstays. The phenomenon isn’t as prevalent these days, but the Jacksons carry on the tradition with immense gifts at their disposal. They’ve performed for grateful audiences since their earliest years and, despite their youth, are now polished musical artists with an expansive command of their craft.
They began their professional journey singing about their Christian faith but have moved into secular territory over the last two years. Sisters J are proven pop talents now with a growing discography and their new single “Breathe In” is arguably their finest achievement yet. It centers around their voices with good reason. Newcomers to Sisters J won’t need to hear the whole song before they realize that we’re possibly in the presence of greatness when we hear them sing. The marriage of Lily and Elisabeth’s voices reaches far beyond any rote cookie-cutter vocal performance and, instead, touches something profoundly human in us all. It is beauty embodied in sound.
The song’s arrangement serves them well. It’s full of delightful little quirks and unexpected clever shifts, but the foundation relies on solid songwriting fundamentals. It gives Sisters J the perfect jumping-off point to weave their vocal magic. It incorporates slightly improbable elements like scintillating lead guitar into a framework where such instrumentation isn’t normally heard. The guitar work provides an emphatic exclamation point for the song and avoids ever sounding ornamental. creatively crafted by their talented music producer Ted “Theo” Perlman.
Embracing an upbeat pace for the cut is another smart move. It gives the song’s subject matter added immediacy. The lyrics already come across as a near urgent call to arms pushing listeners to find equilibrium in life rather than letting adversity consume their everyday lives. It is an invaluable message in any musical context but choosing such a high-powered vehicle for delivering it underlines its wisdom in a way a more sedate pace would not.
Keeping things short and snappy is another strong suit. Sisters J never belabor the song, stretching it unduly for effect, but instead, fix their attention on never wasting a note nor a second of the listener’s time. Everything about this performance is functional – there is no meaningless tinsel, no needless window dressing. It’s cut to a perfect length for radio play, and you’ll be hard pressed to identify anyone who feels it runs on too long.
If Sisters J continues recording material like this, the sky’s the proverbial limit. Moreover, it shows they are capable of convincingly tackling anything that strikes their fancy rather than hemming themselves into a specific style and leaving no wiggle room to develop. They haven’t reached their peak yet. It’s an astonishing thought considering how good this single is, but Sisters J’s “Breathe In” makes it clear they’ve only begun to hit their stride.