Sister Gray
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Sister Gray

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Concert Preview"

EDMONTON - Silky black hair. Feather earrings. Long legs. Thick red lips.

You can’t miss Jenesse and Brittany Graling. These vivacious creatures are fixtures of Edmonton’s nightlife, whether they’re hanging at The Bower, catching a gig at the Starlite Room, or playing with their synth-pop outfit, Sister Gray, at The Pawn Shop.

No wonder three of the tunes on their latest EP, Analog Truth, feel like nocturnal prowls through the bars and clubs of Jasper Avenue and Old Strathcona. O, the first single, captures the claustrophobic hubbub of a crowded room, complete with stabbing synths and a video shot in the dance cages at Buddy’s. Hipsters refers to leather-bound teenage queens and struttin’ downtown boys, while Femme Fatale pays homage to the vivacious creature in every woman — or man: “Sparkle and flash / Shimmer and shake,” Brittany squeaks. Or is it Jenesse? They’re not twins, but their voices are as difficult to tell apart as Tegan & Sara’s.

“We get that a lot, actually,” says Jenesse, the older of the two Gralings. “Even the guys who shot the video couldn’t tell the difference — I had to tell them ‘No, I don’t sing this part.’ I would say Brittany’s tone is a little bit brighter than mine. My tone is a little bit darker.”

Each wrote “two point five songs” for Analog Truth, the followup to Sister Gray’s 2010 EP, Close the Night. Brittany penned O and Lies, while Jenesse wrote Hipsters and Dying Lions, a dream-fuelled piano fugue punctuated by the gnarled scritch of guitar strings.

“You know the story about the mouse who helps the lion with a thorn in its paw? I had a dream where I was the mouse and this lion was dying,” she says. “I was going through a breakup at the time, so I woke up at 5 or 6 in the morning and I was just sobbing, I was so distressed. I ended up pretty much writing the whole song that day.”

As for the “point five” song? The siblings, who are also singing instructors, co-wrote Femme Fatale — which required a few heated, but not fatal, moments of unsisterhood.

“The end result is good, but I think the reason why we prefer to write separately is we just don’t want the other person’s stamp on our songs,” says Jenesse. “We’re similar, but we’re very, very different — so there was probably one, maybe two, fights that went into Femme Fatale. We fight and then five minutes later, we’re fine. Maybe it added a little fire to the song, I don’t know. It’s probably our fastest song; it really rips.”

Sister Gray, also featuring guitarist Mike Morrisseau, bassist Ajay Paterson and drummer Ben Shillabeer, will release Analog Truth on Friday at The Pawn Shop with Noisy Colours and The Marquee.

Tickets are $8 plus service charges at Doors open at 9 p.m.

For more on Sister Gray’s Femme Fatale video shoot, read Sandra Sperounes’s blog at - Edmonton Journal

"Balcony TV"

Watch this acoustic performance and interview on Balcony TV! - Balcony TV

"Gifted Sisters"

Sonic’s band of the month only know how to be honest and the purity is paying off.
Published February 24, 2011 by Kathleen Bell in Music Preview

“I can’t not write about personal things,” admits Jenesse Graling, curled up on a couch beside her sister, Brittany Graling, as she nods in agreement. “One time my mom told me, ‘you know, don’t go too much into introducing this one song. It makes your dad really uncomfortable.’”

As co-front women for Sister Gray, Sonic’s first female-led Band of the Month, they are adamant about honesty. As the band’s lyricists, they can’t help but wring out their hearts, dripping emotion onto scrap paper.

“It’s natural,” Jenesse says. “I was always writing as a kid. Writing, writing, writing. And I always wanted to share all my stories all the time, from Grade 1. Right when I was a teenager even, I was writing songs that I would show to my mom and she’s like, ‘this is a little personal.’”

While Brittany and Jenesse focus the frame and theme of each song, Sister Gray isn’t just a vehicle for the raven-haired siblings. They quickly give credit to bassist Ajay Paterson, guitarist Mike Morrisseau and drummer Kurtis Schultz, who turn each skeletal melody the sisters bring to the band into a real rock song — the kind of heart-pounding, bass-heavy, synth-laced rock that fits the emotional force the girls bring to the table.

“Me and Jess play the synth and the piano,” starts Brittany. “But it will sound kind of like a ballad or something,” finishes Jenesse with a laugh. That’s where the guys take over.

“Ajay and Kurtis, their minds just run a mile a minute,” Brittany says. “They speak, like, a different language, those two, and I’m just like, ‘okay, we’re going to watch and see what you do with our song.’”

Paterson concedes that he enjoys the writing style the band’s come up with but calls this ‘chopping up’ of someone else’s song a challenge.

“It’s hard because they are very honest people and they’re putting their hearts into that song,” he says. “How do you change it without offending them?”

“You do a good job though,” says Jenesse.

In fact, according to Paterson, it’s that same dedication to openness the sisters show in their lyrics that allows the band the freedom to work with the songs in rehearsal. And given the chance, that’s exactly how Sister Gray chooses to describe
the band.

“People should know that we’re a brutally honest band,” Brittany says with a hint of defiance, almost daring anyone who will listen to
be just as honest with themselves.
- See Magazine

"Sister Gray Finds a Home in Rock"

Country, opera, pop, folk -sisters Brittany and Jenesse Graling have sung it all.

The Millet natives started off as budding country stars, singing tunes on their grandmother's karaoke machine and entering talent competitions. In their late teens, they moved on to opera arias and pop songs as part of Bella Rouge, a specialty show band. Then, they tried their pipes at folk, but the format just didn't feel right -until the Gralings decided to rockify their tunes with the help of their friends, bassist Ajay Paterson, guitarist Mike Morrisseau and drummer Kurtis Schultz.

The result is Sister Gray, a colourful group boasting sweet harmonies, soaring guitar riffs, staccato rhythms, synth-rock melodies and lyrics about relationship woes and the dark side of rock 'n' roll.

"When we were doing the folk thing, it always felt so forced, like the songs just didn't fit," says Brittany, 21.

"Once we started doing this, everything instantly clicked and it just feels like we're going in the right direction. Deep down, we are rockers at heart. Heart (featuring another pair of sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson) is my all-time favourite."

Sister Gray is also clicking with Sonic 102.9 FM. The group is the modern rock station's Band of the Month for February, which means Sonic is spinning the title track from the band's five-song EP, Close The Night, and sponsoring Friday's gig at The Pawn Shop.

"They're great live performers and they've got a really good EP I'd love to give exposure to," says Adam Thompson, the station's music director.

As it turns out, Sister Gray is also the first female-fronted rock act to be named Band of the Month since the station launched its local spotlight series in 2005.

This ignominious achievement is a reflection not of Sonic, but of Edmonton's music scene. True, there are a few female-fronted rock bands -such as The Secretaries, The Frolics, Jezibelle and DreamFace -but not nearly as many as you'd expect in 2011.

Concert preview

Sister Gray

With: Raptors, Stone Iris and Tim Gilbertson

When: Friday at 8 p.m.

Where: The Pawn Shop, 10551 Whyte Ave.

Tickets: $5 at the door

(Instead, it seems that the majority of the city's female musicians are singer-songwriters, opting for folk, country or pop.)

Thompson is perplexed by the situation, but he thinks women could be discouraged from trying rock 'n' roll because they're often held up to higher standards than their male counterparts.

"To be a female lead singer, you have to sound pretty much bang-on perfect," he says. "Guys can slough off notes; they can just bang it out. With Sister Gray, they can harmonize perfectly. They're like Edmonton's version of Tegan and Sara -without the national and international attention."

Brittany Graling, who is a yearand-a-half younger than her sister, believes this double standard also extends to life offstage.

"I've been feeling this a lot, recently, even going out and the way that we act," she says. "Us girls have to watch what we're doing whereas guys can just party and act like rock stars. If a girl does that, it's a 'Tsk, tsk!' So for women, I think it's a lot harder to work in that environment."

Perhaps women are also just too practical, not wanting to subject themselves to years of poverty, late-night parties and double standards to chase an elusive, and often money-losing dream?

After all, the Gralings are vocal instructors and still take gigs with Bella Rouge. They tend to perform only at corporate events, which is much more lucrative and stable than the rock 'n' roll circuit.

"It's a job," says Brittany. "It's how we make money to support Sister Gray. I feel like I have a split personality at times." - The Edmonton Journal

"Sisters In Synth"

Life is all about music for Jenesse Graling and her younger sister Brittany.

The MacEwan music grads both earn their keep as vocal instructors, while focusing their creative attention on their band Sister Gray.

But just when a life in singing was beginning to take shape for the eldest sister, it nearly came crashing down.

Sister Gray will release its debut EP Close the Night Saturday with a gig at Brixx Bar, underneath the Starlite Room. Fools Tongue and Self Evolution will open.

Jenesse was teaching vocals and singing in two bands when a speech therapist at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital diagnosed her with vocal nodes — a death knell to many singers.

“I was at the hospital and I started bawling,” she recalls, sitting with her sister in Brittany’s living room. “And then this man in a wheelchair — he had his legs amputated — wheels by me and goes, ‘If you need to talk to somebody, you can talk to me.’ ”

Embarrassed, the encounter quickly put things into perspective.

“I was like, ‘No thanks, that’s OK.’ And then I (told myself), ‘OK Jenesse, you’ve got to just suck it up.’

“But at that moment, it felt like my legs were cut off. I was like, ‘What am I going to do? This is my whole life.’ ”

Through hard work and discipline, Jenesse overcame the nodes, and the singing/synth playing pair is now on the path to indie rock glory.

At 21 and 23 years old, the two are already seasoned vets; Brittany says they’ve been honing their vocal skills since kindergarten.

“We both started singing when we were five years old, and we started actually doing competitions when we were like nine and 12,” she says.

“It’s been a long journey.”

Growing up in small-town Millet, the sisters first took to singing when they discovered their grandma’s karaoke machine.

Jenesse recalls their debut performance, which came during a visit to the city.

“We begged our grandma — we went to Klondike Days and we saw this vocal competition and we were like, ‘Please put us in there, we really want to do it,’ ” she says.

“So we wore matching cowboy outfits and we did it, we sang. It wasn’t great, but we just kept going.”

Ever since, they’ve been musically inseparable.

They moved to Edmonton when Jenesse was 12 and continued singing competitively, eventually landing a gig with show band Bella Rouge that took them on tour across North America.

Their songwriting has evolved over the years, from the country they were raised on to an indie rock sound that harkens Metric and Tegan and Sara, with nods to heroes Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks.

Backed by a trio of male bandmates — including Brittany’s boyfriend, Kurtis Schultz, on drums — the pair’s undeniable chemistry is on magnificent display throughout Close the Night.

“After playing together for what, 12 years, it’s just instinctive,” Brittany says. “We know what each other want to do, we’re on the same wavelength a lot of the time.”

Like all sisters, they have their spats, but neither has ever desired to play in a band without the other.

“We’re really close in general and I don’t think I could bear for her to go away on tour for like two months and me not be with her,” Brittany says.

Turning to her sister, Jenesse wholeheartedly agrees.

“I don’t want to do music without you.” - The Edmonton Sun


Still working on that hot first release.



*Adam Thompson, Music Director, Sonic 102.9 Edmonton, AB  

       "They produced an EP (Close The Night EP) that was accessible, refreshing and interesting. This is a difficult combination to achieve. The single we played on SONiC (Close The Night) was very popular, and Im very anxious to hear what else they plan on releasing." 

            One powerful female surging with angst and inspiration can create enough material for decades. Sister Gray has two such womenand they are sisters, for better or for worse. The two front women are opposing forces of nature; Jenesse reminiscent of Joan Jett rocking a MOOG synth while Brittany wails like the great Ann Wilson coming together to create a sound that is part electro pop, part alternative rock. The sisters chemistry on stage is electric and commanding amidst the chaos of crashing symbols, soaring guitar solos and dirty bass lines. The driving forces of these sisters lie in their intricately woven harmonies leaving audiences wanting more.

               Named Edmontons Best Hidden Gem by SEE Magazine Sister Gray has also opened for many great Canadian bands including Mother Mother at MacEwan's Fall Fest, USS at the Dinwoodie Lounge, Die Mannequin, Sidney York, Mike Edel and Sweet Thing. Sister Gray also finished their first western canadian tour in 2011 with a headlining spot at North Country Fair's MainStage. July 2013 Sister Gray opened up for 54-40 and Glass Tiger to start their summer show dates.

       Throughout Analog Truth (march 2013), Sister Gray creates a new edge to their sound with a live, raw feel holding true to the essence of the bands passion. Electronic textures, layered guitars, and strings come together to create a relentless story from beginning to end. From underground anthems like Hipsters to the epic tale of the mouse and the lion in Dying Lions Jenesse and Brittany express themselves without abandon. Ajay Paterson and Peter stone co-producers and both intent on pushing the limits of what Sister Grays fans have come to expect.

Band Members