Seattle-based brother and sister folk duo Ryan and Kaylee Williams, aka The Native Sibling, have always exhibited a wonderfully rustic vocal blend that distinguishes their work from the throngs of other acoustic guitar-toting troubadours. The duo’s previous album, Letters Kept to Ourselves, chalked up millions of plays on Spotify and secured them a Daytrotter session along with a ‘best of’ iTunes album placement upon release.
Instead of resting on their singer-songwriter laurels, the pair have returned with a moody track that is clearly pushing in a new direction. Voices and versus are volleyed back and forth as the minor key melodies unwind, and then, out of the darkness emerges a triumphant chorus, enhanced by a half-time beat and the duo’s unmistakable harmonies. Reflecting on the songs inception, Kaylee notes,
“How to Win’ was conceived during my time working in Pioneer Square in Seattle. I experienced a lot of confusion and heartbreak living in such an urban area and wrote the song as a call to action to acknowledge the brothers and sisters around you. I brought it to Ryan as a slow, somber piano ballad and we worked through the arrangement together, changing up the groove and tempo. It was the first song we started recording for the new LP, and it felt like a horse leaving the gate. It set the mood for us and we hope that it sets a tone for the new record.”
It’s interesting to note that the two grew up with very different musical preferences, and never considered joining forces until they bonded one night, singing pub ballads in Ireland. It seems they are just beginning to reconcile their musical differences on the forthcoming sophomore LP Hammer is Heart, and it’s a beauty to behold.