The Fabulous Ginn Sisters

The Fabulous Ginn Sisters

 Austin, Texas, USA
BandAmericanaRock

The Fabulous Ginn Sisters are a full time touring band, all over North America, singing original Americana music, also singing backup for Fred Eaglesmith. Great singing, stunning sister harmonies, smart and melodic writing, savvy
performance. Great for festivals, music clubs, listening rooms.

Band Press

Sibling Harmony: The Fabulous Ginn Sisters 10,000 Hours – Margaret Moser

On the cover of You Can't Take a Bad Girl Home, the Fabulous Ginn Sisters (that's a hard "G," as in "guilty") stare out with a stark, Xerox-quality attitude as heavy-lidded, pouty-lipped, hip-cocked rockabilly queens. In person, their pure Texas bloodlines give way to a fresh-faced, corn-fed sweetness – one that equally suggests they've already hoed tough rows.

At 32 and 31 respectively, Tiffani and Britani Ginn are nearing the end of a decadelong cycle that brought them to Austin following the path to education and took a sharp turn into music. That's the story of local musicians from Janis Joplin to Bob Schneider. Tiffani married singer-songwriter Bill Passalacqua and Britani lives with Bill's brother Larry, however, the Dixie Chicks they are not.

Onstage, the Ginns are living testament to the magical way of family, talent, and vocal ambition. The women of You Can't Take a Bad Girl Home are staking their claim.

Born and Raised in Schulenburg
"Born and raised in Schulenburg" sounds like a chamber of commerce slogan or maybe something seared onto a side of choice beef. When Tiffani applies it to the Ginns, it becomes a stamp of authenticity. In Texas, authenticity is valued almost as much as instrumental proficiency and songwriting skill. Authenticity can't be artificially created.

According to the town's Chamber of Commerce, Schulenburg – German for "school town" – sits 80 miles southeast of Austin, with a population of approximately 2,500. The farm and cattle community with a rich German and Czech background also embraces the arts: A handful of churches painted in the European tradition dapple the surrounding fields and hills, as do dance halls, some restored to original luster.

Dance halls are key, because musical tradition runs river deep and family strong in the Ginns of Schulenburg, so strong that Britani recalls being "tiny, really little, and we'd get out of school and go sing at the Lion's Club or at a wedding." The Unplanned Parenthood Association, as the Ginns' parents' family band is known, and the Pettit Brothers Band, a family offshoot act, started the girls performing as soon as they could.

"My sister had an old record player when we were little," Tiffani mused about influences. "And our grandparents had an Italian restaurant with an old jukebox. Whenever they'd take the old 45s out and put the new ones in, we'd get the old ones. So we had this awesome record collection – Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, Ricky Skaggs, Hank Williams.

"Really old Texas country stuff."

That the sisters would pursue music together was not fait accompli, though after "the second round of dropping out of colleges," Tiffani laughs, Dame Fortune sent an invitation.

"We played an open mic at the Cactus Cafe, 2002," she says. "We ended up getting a bunch of gigs from that night, and that was it. We dropped out of school and never looked back."

For Britani, the epiphany came even before that: "When we moved to Austin, we'd decided, 'We're not going to sing covers any more, this family band music.' Tiff was going to school for dance; I studied classical flute. Suddenly, I hated the music thousands of students have played for hundreds of years. I didn't want to sing the same songs as my family.

"We had our own songs to sing."

Share Our Secrets
Their own songs surfaced first on the Ginn sisters' debut, 2003's Generally Happy, but it was Blood Oranges three years later that harvested well-deserved attention. The lustrous mix of twang, soulful roots folk, and sweet dual vocals gave them entrée to bills with Delbert McClinton and Robert Earl Keen and an auspicious friendship with Canadian alt.country favorite Fred Eaglesmith. According to Britani, Eaglesmith's production of Bad Girl brought crucial veteran expertise to the Ginns' evolving sound, while Tiffani points out that touring with Eaglesmith for two years didn't hurt.

"We were on the road with Fred, playing with a rock & roll band every night while continuing to write music," explains Tiffani. "We didn't plan to make an album; we went to just record some songs. Once we went in, we didn't finish until the record was done.

"And our sound changed. Some people are going to miss the countryish sound. Some will find the new rock sound refreshing and different. As your writing changes when you go to a new place, your sound changes, too. We're spoiled touring with Fred and his audience. They are listening to every word you sing. They are talking to you about your lyrics after the show. That's a real treat, an audience that digs the music."

The authenticity Tiffani and Britani Ginn bring to You Can't Take a Bad Girl Home was earned sometime in their 20s when their lifetime in music hit the so-called 10,000-hours mark. That's a key component of success, believes author Malcolm Gladwell, who examined the phenomenon in his book Outliers. He reminds us that Fleetwood Mac put out 16 albums before Rumors rained down platinum. The Beatles performed more than 1,200 times before storming America in 1964.

Ten thousand hours. It's a lesson worth remembering. The Ginns quite possibly reached that plateau even earlier, in their teens, imbuing them with an expertise that shows up in their songs. Tiffani, who writes, plays guitar, and sings lead, composed all the material on Bad Girl except the track co-written with her brother-in-law, Larry Passalacqua. For her, the art of writing is balanced by the challenge of working with her sister, who plays flute and sings.

"We've learned to deal with [conflict]," acknowledges Tiffani. "We've gotten better as we've gotten older. If one doesn't love what the other brings in, that's when we say, 'How about this instead?' If it's not ideal for both of us, that's when the collaboration starts."

"We are so close," Britani agrees. "We function better together than apart. It's almost better when we don't agree, because then it's a joint creation."

A joint creation of separate lives, in fact, and not just onstage and in the studio. Tiffani was reached in the RV she, husband Bill, and their 2-year-old son live and travel in throughout Texas; Britani spoke from southern Illinois, where she now lives with Larry. That's far from the days of shared living quarters, and for right now, it works for the Fabulous Ginn Sisters.

"I can't imagine doing it any other way. Well ...," hedges Tiffani with a laugh, "sometimes I fantasize about touring with a nanny and a really big bus instead of an RV."


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The Ginn Sisters put in a couple of hours at Jax for their CD release, Friday, Nov. 19, 8pm.


Review – Raoul Hernandez, Austin Chronicle

Lipstick noir doesn't come any more tingly than titular lead-off "You Should've Known" ("you can't take a bad girl home"), a midnight motorcycle ride of lust and regret. "So there goes your hope," concludes the dreamy opener, "dirty as tailpipe smoke." Dreams good and bad recur throughout You Can't Take a Bad Girl Home. An undeniable Lilith Fair hook, the callous "Hey Doll" ("you're just another lover") comes hither next, only to be trumped by the sultry, Rickie Lee Jones girlishness of "Dreams," a gorgeous cautionary tale about neglecting one's better half. Swamp-mospherics coating the succeeding "Baton Rouge" summon Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano ("Bloodletting [The Vampire Song]"), only this gal ain't coming back from the afterlife ("on my tombstone write, 'She was here, but now she's dead'"). The winsome vocal inset to simplistic festive jangle "Share Our Secrets" speaks to producer Fred Eaglesmith's understanding not only of songcraft as a gemstone in need of the right setting but of vocals mic'd for maximum variety within an organic whole. Prime example: "Fireworks" is pure Lucinda Williams circa Sweet Old World. The seventh, eighth, and ninth slots suffer in comparison, but closer "Redhead Rosie" paddles 'n' twangs a riverboat pearl straight out of Delaney & Bonnie. You Can't Take a Bad Girl Home, but you can sure as hell hole up at a Days Inn.

The Fabulous Ginn Sisters – San Antonio Express

Produced by singer-songwriter Fred Eaglesmith and propelled by his band, Austin's Fabulous Ginn Sisters - Tiffani and Brit Ginn - sound woozy, boozy and road-tempered on this confessional outing.
Tiffani Ginn wrote all the material, though she shares songwriting credits on one number with guitarist Larry Paul Passalacqua. If the songs are understated, the reverb and echo certainly aren't and add a spooky garage-rock vibe.
Baton Rouge is a rumbling blues favored these days by Bob Dylan. But just when the harmonizing sisters (born in Schulenburg) sound maybe a little too threateningly forlorn, they knock off a sweet Leigh Nash-worthy ditty such as Share Our Secrets.
As with singer-songwriter Amy Cook, the specter of Lucinda Williams hangs over some of the lazily drawled tracks, such as Dreams and Fireworks. And on Redheaded Rosie, the album's instantly likable final track, the Fabulous Ginn Sisters effortlessly conjure the honky-tonk vibe and relaxed swagger of the Rolling Stones' Sweet Virginia.
— Hector Saldaña

You Can't Take A Bad Girl Home – Exclaim Magazine, Toronto

Fans of Fred Eaglesmith will be eager to hear this latest effort from the recent additions to his band: Tiffani and Brit Ginn. You Can't Take A Bad Girl Home is the follow-up to their 2006 debut, Blood Oranges, although Eaglesmith's stamp is all over it, from his typically haunting production touch to the honesty infused into each track. Like their closest contemporaries, the Watson Twins, the Ginns' harmonies are impeccable, but there's a much darker tinge to their storytelling approach that Eaglesmith sonically exploits to the fullest on tracks like "Baton Rouge." Yet, immediately after, the sisters' flair for pop is fully displayed on "Share Our Secrets." By its conclusion, You Can't Take A Bad Girl Home is bursting at the seams with raw emotion, leaving the distinct impression that the Ginn Sisters are destined for great things, and not just within the Americana scene. (Lonesome Day)

Blood Oranges – No Depression Magazine, Andy Turner

"Tiffani and Brit Ginn have had a lifetime together to perfect their head-spinning harmonizing, and its been time well spent. Born thirteen months apart, the Texas sisters are confident, soulful vocalists who sing every song like their familys honor depended on it. Tiffany penned most of Blood Oranges Bill Passalacqua co-wrote three songs, and Abi Tapia contributes another and she sings the majority of the melody vocals while Brit provides harmonies. Tiffany has a knack for down-and-out laments, which the Ginns deliver convincingly. Main street in the middle of the night / She sets stacking her memories on the bar, they sing on Broken Spirit. The sad, booze-craving protagonist of the terrific Hard Fall at least knows that love and credit werent built to last. The jaunty Im Clean has an appealing Jimmie Rodgers slacker approach, minus the yodeling. Another Ginn, mom Kari, helps out on Hard Fall and Leave Me Standing. Producer/engineer Bradley Kopp and Larry Paul Passalacqua contribute understated, tasteful guitar parts that fit nicely along-side the sisters soaring vocals."

Margaret Moser – The Austin Chronicle

There are few sounds sweeter than siblings harmonizing, and like dessert to their 2004 debut, Generally Happy, the Ginn Sisters' Blood Oranges is a ripe, tasty offering. They wear their small-town Texas upbringing with familial pride, while Bradley Kopp's production balances their rich vocals with austere, outstanding musicianship. Lead vocalist Tiffani wrote or co-wrote 12 of the 13 songs (Abi Tapia contributed "Get It & Go") and carries the melody vocals with panache while playing guitar on "Not My Friend," "Hard Fall," "Broken Spirit," and the witty "Down the Drain." Younger sister Brit's sweet harmony chimes high, playing Helen to Anita Carter, especially on "Leave Me Standing" and the sublime ending of "Hard Fall," but turns to melody too on "Let It Burn." Some of Blood Oranges' pure Americana moments come when Tiffani and Brit croon to guitar alone, such as on "Not My Friend" and "Dancing Shoes." "Keep me in mind, me and my dancing shoes" melt their voices over the song like honey on an August day. Blood ties are thicker than water and the Ginn Sisters are cool countrified tonic for the summertime blues.

Next of Ginn – Country Weekly Magazine

"If your tastes run toward the alt-country end of things, The Ginn Sisters are outstanding. Tiffani and Brit Ginn (pronounced with a hard "g", as in "great") recently swept through Nashville, hitting the Americana Tonight show at Douglas Corner and the Country Weekly conference room. The duo's striking songs, sisterly harmonies and natural charm had the staff here ready to pile into the Ginns' van so we could hear 'em sing all the way back to their hometown of Austin (nobody did, though--we've got work to do, you know). You can check em out for yourself at www.theginnsisters.com"

Critics Pick – Nashville Scene

"THE GINN SISTERS: OK, it's pretty much a given that sisters Tiffani and Brit Ginn have the ol' Everly Brothers genetic-harmonies thing going on. So what else sets this Austin twosome apart from the Americana competition? Plenty. Tiffani sings lead with a bluesy smolder reminiscent of the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines, supplies the rhythmic backbone on guitar and writes most of the duo's instantly memorable songs. Meanwhile, Brit adds the musical coloring that keeps those songs full of surprises, especially when she demonstrates the kind of powerful flute playing that may well redeem what seemed like the last hopelessly unhip instrument. Their sophomore album, Blood Oranges, only hints at the onstage charisma and knockabout charm that will surely be on display as they make a return appearance at Douglas Corner's 'Americana Tonight' show. "(theginnsisters.com) Douglas Corner —CHRIS NEAL

The Ginn Sisters – St.Louis Post-Dispatch

"Emmylou Harris can sing harmony with anybody — or everybody —- but what if she had a sister? There's just something about sibling singers, whether they're the the Louvins, the Andrewses or the Everlys. Now we have the Ginn Sisters (pronounced with a hard G), two young Texans whose exquisitely sung brand of acoustic roots music walks the line between alternative and traditional country. Their second CD, "Blood Oranges," sparkles — from the acoustic country rock of "Down the Drain" to the hard country of "Broken Spirit" and "Hard Fall (From Saturday Night)." Tiffani Ginn is the lead singer and songwriter, possessed of a muscular voice and a sharp pen. Brit Ginn sings the harmonies, and shines on flute; check out her unusual and terrific work on "Let It Burn." The Ginns cut their teeth in school and church, and they've toured constantly since their 2003 debut, "Generally Happy," playing with the likes of Robert Earl Keen, Fred Eaglesmith and Delbert McClinton." (BG)

Real Music from Real Sisterly Love – Maverick Magazine

Tiffani and Brit Ginn were raised in Texas, and grew up singing in school and church choirs. That, combined with their music college education, stood them in good stead for producing fine albums such as this, GENERALLY HAPPY, the sisters' debut album, was well received, and BLOOD ORANGES is a strong follow-up. "Down the Drain" is an up-tempo opener, slightly reminiscent of earlier Dixie Chicks material. "Broken Spirit" is an encouraging Southern ballad, followed by the Latin influence of 2 Cool 2 Cry. Drowning your sorrows is a common topic in country music and this album's track around that theme is "Hard Fall".
Brit takes lead vocals for "Let it Burn", and her voice brings a gentle quality to the song, and the pair harmonise as only family can, on the sorrowful "Leave Me Standing" and "Not My Friend". "I'm Clean" is a hillbilly blues tune about tidying up your life, and "Dancing Shoes" gives the album a sentimental end, as the sisters sing of being amazed by someone's personal beauty. Having heard this album it is little wonder that The Ginn Sisters have been touring endlessly since 2003, their sisterly bond make for some truly special songwriting and glorious harmonies.