If the last of those doesn't quite jibe with your personal experience, perhaps it's because your last name is not Peasall. A quick primer: The Peasall (sounds like "peace hall") sisters -- Sarah, 14, Hannah, 11, and Leah, 8 -- sang on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. They provided the singing voices for the actresses who played George Clooney's daughters in the movie. In the film and on its soundtrack, they perform on the songs "In the Highways" and "Angel Band."
Via their ties to O Brother, the Tennessee siblings -- who appear this Friday at Discover Mills in Lawrenceville -- have performed at New York's Carnegie Hall and at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. They recently participated in the sold-out "Down From the Mountain" tour, logging 21 shows in 19 cities in less than a month, performing with many artists from the movie soundtrack. Venues included New York's Radio City Music Hall, the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and the Wang Center in Boston.
The sisters have a debut CD, First Offering, on their own Peace Hall label. It's a compelling, strikingly gorgeous blend of acoustic bluegrass roots and Christian themes. Included are songs from the Carter Family and Ralph Stanley.
Singing "has always come natural," says Sarah. "Part of it may be that I've always been in church, singing hymns with the three-part harmonies going on. As soon as I was old enough to hear it, I would sing it. I guess it's just a gift from God."
Perhaps nature and nurture both have played a role. The girls' father, Michael, is a church music and worship minister. Their grandfather, Jim Brasher, plays guitar, mandolin and fiddle. Not coincidentally, Sarah plays guitar, Hannah mandolin, and Leah fiddle.
"By the time each [daughter] reached the age of 4 or 5, I knew that they could sing," recalls their mother, Sally.
In particular, she remembers one night about three years ago. Driving to pick up her two older daughters from ballet class, she was absentmindedly singing when she heard her youngest daughter, Leah, then 5, adding perfect third-above harmonies from the back seat.
Soon enough, the girls were singing at churches, nursing homes and other local functions, and had done some studio session work, recording Christian music for children, before answering the audition call for O Brother.
"Little kids -- one week they'll want to be a fireman, one week they'll want to be a doctor," Sarah says. "I've always wanted to be a musician. I think that it's my calling in life."
Hannah echoes that sentiment: "I've always wanted to be a musician. I hope that we can keep doing this and it'll get even bigger than it is right now. I like this career. It's fun."
Adds Sally: "I would like to see the three of them become a real bluegrass act that moves in bluegrass circles. It's a great place for families."
Wisely, the girls' parents chose to release the CD on their own versus signing a recording contract that would involve long-term commitment. "My dad said a long time ago that it's very important for us to have a normal childhood. 'As soon as it stops being fun, you guys can quit,' he says. But we have fun with the audience, and we love to perform," Sarah explains.
They do suffer a bit of teasing at school, however. "People make jokes about, 'Oh, there's the famous girl, make room for the famous girl,'" Hannah says. "But my friends treat me the same."
"None of the people we know treat us much different," adds Leah. "We're still three little girls who have different abilities than some other people do -- and that's just about it."
The Peasall Sisters perform Fri., March 15, at the Celebration Stage in the Towne Square Festival Food Court, Discover Mills, 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. 7 p.m. Free. 678-847-5201. www.discovermills.com. This column covers music outside the Perimeter. E-mail or mail "outside" music news to Bryan Powell, 830 Josh Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30045.
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