The Sweater Set
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The Sweater Set

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | SELF

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | SELF
Band Folk Pop




"April 26 2013 The Sweater Set Album Review 'Oh Visitor'"

The Sweater Set album review, ‘Oh Visitor’
By Catherine P. Lewis,April 25, 2013

The Sweater Set will perform in the Washington, DC area. (Shervin Lainez/ )

“Oh Visitor”

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The Sweater Set is an equal partnership: The D.C. folk duo consists of multi-instrumentalists Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin, each of whom wrote seven tracks for their new album, “Oh Visitor.” Both women play guitar, ukulele and glockenspiel, and both sing lead and harmonies.

The result is a lush sound that keeps the album moving with a richer sonic texture than many solo folk albums. Opening track “Stupid Flame” is a catchy song that meshes guitar and banjo as seamlessly as Andary’s and Curtin’s vocal harmonies. “San Francisco” captures the same energy, with the duo’s instrumental chemistry adding to the song’s collaborative feel.

But the pair’s vocals might be the Sweater Set’s strength. Their harmonies on “Hunt You Down” mesh sassy and sweet in a saucy tale of revenge against a lover who doesn’t call. The song’s charming style is in such contrast to its dark lyrics that the lover in question would have a hard time knowing whether they were serious or not.

The only minor slip is the sparseness of “Valentine’s Day,” which languishes in contrast to the depth of sound on the other songs.

The rest of the album, however, is a delightful collaboration.

— Catherine P. Lewis
- The Washington Post

"May 10 2013 Review: Oh Visitor by The Sweater Set"

Review: Oh Visitor by The Sweater Set
If you just want your fix of gossip, you could read People magazine. But, listening to Oh Visitor, the newest album from D.C. folk duo The Sweater Set, is a better, more enjoyable idea. It’s an open invitation, after all. The title is apt, the duo’s way of calling out to you to begin a winding, fascinating conversation about any manner of things: “Oh visitor, did you hear about…”

What Maureen Andary and Sarah Curtin want to talk about is engaging – the conversation ranges from breakups to death and addiction to gender inequality – and elegantly conveyed. It’s not often you get your gossip delivered via gorgeous soprano harmonies.

Like any good conversation, Oh Visitor starts lightly and then progresses into more intimate territory. “Stupid Flame,” the album’s lead-off track, features a rich arrangement of upbeat hand-claps and a shimmering wall of banjo and guitars. There is a hint of something deeper and darker in the lyrics, though.

The song chronicles the end of a relationship and the somewhat benign attempts at healing – buying another dress, a little gin. There is a hint of something deeper, though, in the self-effacing lyrics. The cures are only temporary, and while Andary and Curtin know it, they don’t reveal that secret so easily. The sunny music serves to mask real pain and frustration.

As the album plays on and the duo gets more comfortable with you, the listener, the conversation gets more intimate. The simpler the arrangement, the more vulnerable Andary and Curtin make themselves. “Simple” offers an intimate snapshot of life after a break-up, delivered over sparse, quiet guitar chords. “Long Winter” features hushed, twinkling piano underneath stark, mournful harmonies.

The record still has its share of spunk. “Hunt You Down” is a bouncy ditty with barely-veiled threats: “I know you’ve seen my chef-knife collection, hanging along my kitchen wall,” the duo sings glibly. Oh Visitor is a conversation over coffee, and the coffee definitely has some brandy in it.

Fans of The Sweater Set will enjoy catching up with the duo as they listen to Oh Visitor. New listeners will want to sit down and stay for awhile, like coffee-shop patrons who can’t help eavesdropping on the fascinating conversation at the table beside them. - DC Music Download

"Local Pop's Gossip Girls: The Sweater Set"

SUMMER'S OVER, AND the girls of The Sweater Set tell it like it is. "You're just for fun," read the lyrics of the whimsical folk duo's song "Roger That." "Don't you know, I only want you for the summer months."

D.C. natives Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin make up the folk band that has its roots in the choir kids at upper Northwest's Blessed Sacrament Church. Years later they sang together in church, Andary was a finalist in an international songwriting contest and was allowed to perform with another musician onstage.

"I just thought, 'Who can sing these things I write?' The only person I could think of was Sara."

The two quickly reconnected and established a sound that they describe as "musically elaborate gossip."

"It's like a coffee talk or a tease session," says Curtin. "Like, 'My outfit's cuter than your girlfriend's.' We also bring it down to an emotional side, but we have a sense of humor and it's reflective in those songs."

The multifaceted musicians have a long list of instrumentation to accompany their melodies. Along with folk staples ukulele, guitar and flute, Andary and Curtin play glockenspiel, kazoo and hand percussion along with a spot-on mouth trumpet that comes out even in the pair's more earnest songs.

"Cheap tricks are amazing and fun for the audience," says Andary, "I like the serious contrast in those songs." The Sweater Set's debut album, "Surprise Visit," weaves through personal narratives as if Curtin and Andary are whispering juicy tidbits in your ear. But don't let the vintage-clad gossping girls fool you — their songs are tales of self-governing women.

"I think it's reflective of our generation's tendency to have relationships in the gray area," says Andary. They're already working on newer songs, adding more unconventional instrumentation to their act. "We got a banjo-uke," says Curtin. "It's the most adorable instrument you're going to see."

Solly's U Street Tavern, 1942 11 St. NW; with Michael Jantz and the Davenports, Thu., Sept. 10, 8 p.m., $5 (U St.-Cardozo)

Written by Express contributor Robyn Mincher - The Washington Post Express

"April 2013 One Track Mind: The Sweater Set, "Simple""

One Track Mind: The Sweater Set, “Simple”
Posted by Caroline Jones on Apr. 25, 2013 at 9:00 am
Standout Track: No. 5, “Simple,” the lyrics of which inspired the title of Sara Curtin and Maureen Andary’s new album, Oh, Visitor. It’s a departure from The Sweater Set’s usually uptempo, ukulele-infused material, but the combination of electric guitar, classical guitar, and Andary’s vocals suits the lyrics’ quiet resignation about a relationship that’s fallen apart.

Musical Motivation: Andary began writing the song after breaking up with her boyfriend of 18 months. She started playing around with the bass line and then turned her attention toward the lyrics, crafted from her observations of post-breakup life. “It’s only my shoes on the floor anymore, it’s only my clothes in the drawer,” she sings. According to Andary, “it’s supposed to be a really sad breakup song but ... the catch is that it’s so much simpler to not be in a relationship.”

Change of Tune: “Simple” started out fairly slow and quiet. It lived briefly as an uptempo song with banjo, but Curtin and Andary quickly realized that didn’t work. After going back and forth about how it should sound, they finally recorded the song live in the studio last December. And while Curtin only contributes backing vocals to this version (live, she plays ukelele, too), she still finds herself immersed in the song. “I just get totally wrapped up in it when we’re doing it,” she says, “even though my involvement is so little.”

Listen to "Simple" after the jump. - Washington City Paper

"" intimidating number of instruments.""

" intimidating number of instruments." - The Washington Post

""A collection of sweet songs""

Acoustic duo The Sweater Set just released their second album, "Goldmine," a collection of sweet songs with the group's signature soprano harmonies and multi-instrumental arrangements. Hear Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin perform their new material before they leave for a tour of the northeast. - The Washington Post

""The Sweater Set will pluck at your heartstrings.""

Local musicians Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin will be armed with ukuleles to give their Valentine's Day performance an extra twang. The Strathmore artists-in-residence, called the Sweater Set, will pluck at your heartstrings with folksy love songs in two-part harmony. - The Washington Post

"Three Stars: "The Sweater Set are here to impress""

Three Stars: The Sweater Set

2011_0526_sweaterset.jpg The Sweater Set are here to impress. In addition to impressing audiences with the sheer number of instruments with which they're more than proficient, Sara Curtin and Maureen Andary are also well versed in a number of musical styles. Within the course of our conversation, they brought up tidbits about folk, jazz, country, musical theater and indie rock. Their love of all of these styles are apparent on their most recent album Goldmine.

Goldmine's fourteen tracks range from the swinging gypsy jazz accordion of "The Breaker" to the light and the heartbreaking pop of "Who's Sorry". Yet what remains consistent are Andary and Curtin's golden harmonies which guide the songs. They are clear students of music who appreciate how they can tweak and hone their craft for a result that's downright impressive. -

""Folk duo learns to go with the currents""

Arts & Entertainment : One Track Mind
Goldmine The Sweater Set A folk duo learns to go with the currents.
By Steve Kolowich • April 29, 2011
Listen: The Sweater Set

Download: "Downstream"

Standout Track: No. 8, “Downstream,” a dreamlike waltz in which singer Maureen Andary stops worrying and learns to love the pitch and roll of life suspended in currents of fate. “I’ll get out of the way/of the hand we were meant to play/and lose,” she sings. The song bobs to an acoustic guitar and synchronized plinks and plunks of a glockenspiel and baby piano. On the bridge, the song slides into a glassy, minor-key quotation of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” with which “Downstream” shares a mood and message: Don’t struggle, and if you must row, row gently. - Washington City Paper

""Best straightforward folk album to come out of DC""

The Sweater Set - Goldmine: The best straightforward folk album to come out of D.C. in 2011. The choral vocal arrangements of Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin are unabashedly pristine and it almost smacks you in the face with overwhelming preciousness on the first listen. But there’s also sadness expressed wonderfully amidst masterful instrumentation. -

"The Sweater Set - Surprise Visit CD Review"

The Sweater Set - Surprise Visit
I was contacted "The Sweater Set" about doing a CD review of the duo's new album, Surprise Visit. The Sweater Set girls are Maureen Andary, from Washington D.C. and Sara Curtin of Brooklyn, New York. Together, the girls play a mix of folk music, pop tunes, and jazz. They play live in New York City and the DC area, including the "Washington Folk Festival" (a pretty nice event if you can make the trip).

Surprise Visit is ten tunes. Here is the lineup:
1. Roger That
2. List of Things
3. I'm Sure You're Hip
4. It's Not Me
5. Cop A Feel
6. Stick Around
7. Home Together
8. Nostalgia
9. Dreamlife
10. Truly I Do

"Roger That" jumps right at you. The vocals are clear and there is a harmonizing kazoo intro to the song. The CD volume is high, so if you do most of your listening with headphones, consider this a warning. Set the volume low and raise it to your
comfort level when the music begins. The mix is designed to feature this duo's vocals. There is a strong finger- snapping percussion beat and the
meter is solid.

"List of Things" comes down a bit in volume. The harmonies on this song are beautifully done. The mix is excellent on this song and the vocal blend is perfect. There is a xylophone
accent, cool. That is an instrument that you seldom hear and it's use here is an unexpected bright spot.

"I'm Sure You're Hip", if you listen to the lyrics, you have to wonder who inspired this song. This is a song of wanting someone, anyone... living.

"It's Not Me" is another song of longing. There is a section that sounds as though it is sung in unison. It finally splits into two of those wonderful harmonies. These ladies can sing. I"d love to sit down and put together something as complex as some of Freddie Mercury's vocal tracks with
Queen with these ladies. There is some enormous potential in their vocal power.

"Cop A Feel" is a song that made me laugh. It is just a little naughty and too short.

"Stick Around" is another song about relationships. In fact, that is the theme of the entire album. This song features a beautiful flute accent. Once again, those vocals shine.

"Home Together" is a tune to follow "Stick Around". I expected the song to be about staying home together. If you listen to the lyrics, the man is
starting to escape. The lady is wanting to convince him that there is no one better out there.

i"Nostalgia" s just too short. It was gone before I knew it. This song starts with "I haven't seen you in years" and then it
moves forward slowly. This song is a comparison of a past love that still warms a girl's heart. She has been seeing others, but, the spark is not there. She is remembering what "they" had and what she is missing. This song has a doo-wah sort of vibe to
it. It reminds me of something from a musical. I picture a scene like " I love the flute. One again, their signature
harmonies shine near the end of this song.

"Dreamlife" has a hauntingly beautiful flute track in it. The meter is so steady that you'd almost think it is played by a
computer. The flute is wondeful.

"Truly I Do" is a melancholy number. The song is moody and mournful and the chord structure accentuates that mood beautifully. I can picture this
number being sung in a smoke-filled scene in a gin-joint.
The mood of this song really gave me thoughts of these gals singing this number alongside Craig Robertson with his fedora pulled down low and his collar flipped up. One on each side with their tight harmonies and
Craig's famous growl filling in the bottom of the song.
These gals can sing. If their vocals come across this strong on live performances, they could really have a sound all their own. I'd like to hear what else they perform. Given a steady stream of material and some promotional work, I have the
feeling that they would have no place to go but up.
Some of the writing is frivolous and some just fun. Some is more
meaningful and though-provoking.
The final number is darker sounding and moody. I have to say that the last number was absolutely wonderful and the best track on the album. One of the keys to making a good show of it is leaving the listening
audience wanting more. That's where I am right now. I'd like to hear more of "The Sweater Set". I'd love to hear what
they could do with some classic jazz cover tunes.

Ladies, I love those harmonies. Keep it coming. The xylophone was a nice touch. The flute was wonderful. Let's hear some more. - Ukulele Player Magazine

"Town Topics:"

town topics
“Surprise Visit” - the Sweater Set
By Erin Petty
September 2009

Nearly 100 fans packed the second level of Solly’s U Street Tavern on Thursday, September 10 to hear the Sweater Set, comprised of D.C. natives Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin, release their new album, “Surprise Visit.”

The Sweater Set displayed their multi-faceted musical talents on the ukulele, guitar, flute, glockenspiel and kazoo, while the audience munched on such band-provided goodies as Rice Krispie treats and chocolate cupcakes.

The group set the tone for the evening by opening on a whimsical note, performing the first bars of the song “Roger That” on the kazoo, which they also happened to be selling. “We don’t have any mini-glockenspiels for sale,” said Andary, “but we do have kazoos.”

Andary and Curtin had just returned from playing gigs earlier in the week in Brooklyn, where Curtin resides, and Boston, and they were excited to see friends and family in their hometown. “It’s been a big, fun, week-long celebration,” said Curtin.

The duo usually meets up twice a month, for a performance in D.C. and for one in New York, getting together a day or two ahead of time to rehearse. Though the Sweater Set has played a numerous venues in New York, including Bryant Park’s After Work Series, one of their favorite places to perform is the subway, especially the Delancey Street station on the Lower East Side.

“We like busking in New York,” said Andary. “You interact with such interesting people.”

In splitting their time between D.C. and New York, Andary and Curtin have developed an appreciation for the differences in the cities’ music scenes.

“D.C. is small and friendly,” said Andary. “There are always interesting arts institutions looking for performers.” Local Sweater Set venues include the Shakespeare Theatre’s Harman Center for the Arts and the Fort Reno Concert Series, which Andary and Curtin attended as youth.

Compared to their hometown, “New York is very satiated,” said Curtin. “It’s saturated with so much art and music, which is why I love it, but at the same time it can be hard as an artist to find your voice.”

Both Andary and Curtin supplement their Sweater Set income with other jobs. Andary teaches guitar and ukukele, sings at church, and does freelance event production. Curtin works as a fishmonger at a farmer’s market. “We’re living the artist life and not being committed to a particular career,” said Andary.

Andary doesn’t give up on the hope that the Sweater Set might someday be the duo’s sole source of income. “You can’t psych yourself out and say it’s not possible.” - The Georgetowner


Oh, Visitor (2013)


Live @ IMT (2010)

Surprise Visit (2009)



2012 & 2011 Washington Area Music Association Award
Winners for Best Contemporary Folk Duo

"an intimidating number of instruments." - The Washington Post

Since their early years as teens in a DC church choir, Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin have developed a unique musical relationship. Intricate Soprano-Alto harmonies soar over multi-instrumental arrangements of ukulele, guitar, flute, hand percussion, accordion, banjo, glockenspiel, and the occasional kazoo/mouth trumpet solo. Listeners are invited into The Sweater Set’s joyful friendship as their songs play out like musically elaborate gossip about the perils of courtship, lust, and heartbreak.

The Sweater Set was awarded the 2012 and 2011 Washington Area Music Awards for Best Contemporary Folk Duo and has been nominated for 13 Washington Area Music Association awards. In the past two years they have toured throughout Ireland, the UK, & United States with Folk legend Michelle Shocked, opened for Dar Williams at The Birchmere, performed alongside Denyce Graves and the Washington Ballet for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, performed at The Kennedy Center, and served as Artists-in-Residence at the Strathmore Center for the Performing Arts. Visit for upcoming performance dates.