“Stockholm’s cold but I’ve been told I was born to endure this kind of weather.”
And just like that the sisters from Sweden plant themselves firmly within country’s proud tradition of the tragic and ill-starred. With “Emmylou,” First Aid Kit evoke the legendary songstress Emmylou Harris and her star-crossed relationship with Gram Parsons. The singer also summons Johnny Cash and June Carter‘s turbulent relationship as a model for her own with her absent lover.
But the song isn’t ultimately about the country legends, just as Blake Shelton‘s “Honeybee” isn’t about insects. The song is a subtle plea to a lost and reluctant lover who has been driven away by the singer’s reticence. It is a new twist on the old theme of you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. And it’s a haunting twist, almost gothic in the sisters’ sweeping vocals, heavy with minor chords and backed by pedal steel.
First Aid Kit made their own success. The duo is comprised of Kara and Johanna Söderberg from outside of Stockholm, Sweden. Introduced to country music when she was 12, Klara quickly started to compose her own songs on her first guitar. Joined by her sister’s backing vocals and keyboard, the two promoted their music via social networking and sent demos to radio stations.
They were quickly noticed by a popular Swedish artist who signed them to his label in 2007. Touring wasn’t possible at the time, however, as school got in the way–as it so often does. Klara was only 14 when First Aid Kit released their debut EP Drunken Trees. But it was a cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” that the duo uploaded to YouTube in 2008 that brought them their first international attention. And it’s been all downhill since.
“Emmylou,” off their album The Lion’s Roar was named one of Rolling Stone‘s Top 10 singles of 2012. Thier newest album, Stay Gold was recently certified Gold in the UK after winning a bevy of awards of recognition from everybody from Paste magazine to Ellen Degeneres. First Aid Kit’s newest single, “Stay Gold,” is currently on its way up the US Adult Alternative charts.
The duo is currently touring Europe, but they will make landfall in the US starting July 16 with a show in Austin. The following months will see them performing around the southeast and making their way up to the Northeast for the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island.