The Hello Strangers

The Hello Strangers

 Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
BandAmericanaFolk

Haunting harmonies by sweet and lonesome sister duo meld with indie-twang, old-timey pulp, and the sounds of a midnight train.

Biography

What does Austin-influenced, rural-Pennsylvanian, indie sister-folk sound like? Verbosity aside, it sounds uniquely like The Hello Strangers, a band fronted by sister duo Larissa Chace Smith and Brechyn Chace, whose haunting harmonies and original, wittingly noir songwriting style are the backbone of their sound.

The Hello Strangers just released their first full-length, self-titled album with multi-award winning (Grammy, Emmy, Dove, Tele) IMI Records in Nashville, Tennessee. The album features 11 originals and 2 covers, including "What You Don't Know," written by, and featuring on vocals, Jim Lauderdale; and "Que Sera, Sera," an homage to their grandfather, Ronald Chace, who sang with Doris Day.

In 2012, Larissa and Brechyn won AirPlay Direct's "Win An Americana Record Deal" contest, giving them the opportunity to work with Steve Ivey of IMI, and a host of other talented industry professionals, on their 2014 album.

The Hello Strangers have shared the stage with Jim Lauderdale and Robert Earl Keen; have performed at Music City Roots, The Bluebird Cafe, Philadelphia Folk Fest, and The Birchmere; spent 8 weeks on the Americana Music Chart; and can be heard on Sirius XM Outlaw Country & The Village as well as radio stations worldwide. 

The Hello Strangers were born out of the Austin, Texas music scene in 2006 when the sisters wrote their first song together, entitled “Pregnant in Jail.” Based on true events, it was a preamble to a string of original tunes the pair crafted in a little cottage off South Congress Avenue. Soon, however, the mountains of Pennsylvania beckoned the girls back north, and so they packed up their lives, dogs, and Larissa’s husband and returned to their two-stoplight hometown.

The move has since proven to be a boon for the duo. The sisters have created a catalogue of original music with nods to American folk traditions, modern indie rock, Texas country-folk, and roots rock, all tied together with lilting harmonies that only sisters can create. Timeless imagery and fables are at the core of each song, from tales of a boggy creek bottom where a murdered man sleeps, to a Texas roadhouse with bawdy dancers and clinking beer bottles, to more poignant reflections on the loss of winter or a man gone wrong.

The sisters are supported by a dynamic and talented trio: Spencer Pheil on lead guitar, Trent Renshaw on drums, and Tom Hoy on bass.

PRAISE FOR THE HELLO STRANGERS

"...a quirky sense of humor and some spine-tingling harmonies. Highlights include a spooky-as-hell version of Jim Lauderdale's 'What You Don't Know' and a sweet, twangy take on the Doris Day standard 'Que Sera Sera,' (a tribute to their grandfather, Ronald Chace, who sang with Day). But the album also boasts 11 impressive originals, all of them set to a cool Carter Sisters-meets-Indigo Girls vibe." (Stephen L. Betts/Rolling Stone)

“This album is just brilliant…and deserves to be heard – and heard often. Listen and see if you don’t agree!” - Chuck Dauphin, Music News Nashville/Billboard

"A satisfying mix of smart songwriting and memorable melodies — not to mention the undeniable sibling harmonies." - Craig Shelburne, CMT Edge

"The sister duo’s self-titled album iis one of the year’s strongest debut albums. Brechyn Chace and Larissa Chace Smith serve up a delightful collection of songs, ranging from the raucous singalong 'What It Takes to Break A Heart' to the honky-tonking 'Ruined' to a sweet version of 'Que Sera, Sera,' which pays tribute to the sisters’ grandfather, who sang with Doris Day in the ‘40s. And there’s an appearance from Jim Lauderdale (on 'What You Don’t Know), which is always a bonus." - Juli Thanki, Engine145/The Tennessean 

"The Hello Strangers demonstrate the kind of credence that only happens when worldly experience is paired with shattered sentiment. These two ladies certainly stand out on their own. Country credence is assured, and with it, a very promising future indeed." - Lee Zimmerman, No Depression

""completely captivating". Robert K. Oermann, Music Row Magazine

"Drawing on their Austin and 'Pennsyltucky' backgrounds, their self-titled album is worth a serious listen. The harmonies compliment each other in a way akin to First Aid Kit, but are particularly moving when also featuring Jim Lauderdale (see the track 'What You Don't Know')". - Rachel Downes, The Bluegrass Situation

"solid, harmony-laden album, which twines classic country style (think Patsy Cline and Kitty Wells) with contemporary songwriter sensibilities (a la Shawn Colvin and Mindy Smith)."  - Bliss Bowen, Pasadena Weekly

Lyrics

Poor Dear

Written By: Larissa Chace Smith,Brechyn Chace

Poor Dear
© Larissa Chace Smith and Brechyn Chace, 2006
My poor, poor dear
My poor, poor dear
You had to know I was going to go...
Now my bags are packed and I’m bound for that old d
irt road
My poor, poor dear
My poor, poor dear
Don’t try and stop me
Don’t say you’re sorry...
Just open that door cause my hands are full
My poor, poor dear
My poor, poor, poor dear
You laid your hand me
Why’s it so hard to see
By the time you light up that cigarette I’ll be gon
e to Tennessee
I see that old house getting smaller
But you’ll see no tear marks down my dusty face
You said it would come with a cost
But like a sprout after the frost
Well, I found something that I’ve lost
My poor poor dear
My poor poor dear
You had to know I was going to go...
Now my bags are packed and I’m bound for that old dirt road

Never Roam Again

Written By: Larissa Chace Smith

Never Roam Again

If I pushed you away
Sorry was something I’d never say
But if I needed you today
Would you find your way back to me

You never left things undone
From your hair to the songs you sung
And if I had only one
I would find my way back to you

Oceans would never be the same
Without the moon to guide the waves
It might take an ocean to guide me home
But I’ll Never Roam Again

So maybe that’s all that’s left to say
You’ll be the moon to guide my way
Even if it’s half a world away
I will find my way back to you
Even if it’s half a world away
I will find my way back to you

© Larissa Chace Smith 2012

Discography

"The Hello Strangers" - 2014 (IMI Records)

"Introducing Max Schmidt" - EP, 2010
"The Hello Strangers, Acoustic in Austin" - EP, 2006

Set List

Original Material:

Same Routine
Poor Dear
The World Knows Far Better Than Me
Conococheague
Before You Left
Interrogation
Chances
Lonestar Serenade
Pregnant In Jail
Caribou
Oh, He'll Drown
Faithful, Truly, Always
Leaves
My Old True Love
What's Left of Him
Papa
Leave Me Alone
Yellow-Bellied Cur
Bad Omen
Another To Tell
Never Roam Again
Big Flood
What It Takes to Break a Heart
Runaway
Holy Unholy
Ruined

Rattle To Shake   

Same Night As Before

Will You Miss Me When I'm Mrs. Robert McGee


Various covers based on venue
2 60-minute sets with breaks in between, or any variation.
Have performed up to 4-hour slots.